Media Wrap: Amazon could launch SVOD in Australia; Fifield soothes media diversity fears

By AdNews | 29 February 2016

YouTube Red to launch soon

YouTube's subscription service Red, which contains original movie-length features, will launch in Australia later this year, providing competion to online video rivals Netflix and Amazon.

Red is targeted at millenials and will invest in up to 20 shows each year, but considers itself more of a distribution platform, The Australian reports.

Red subscriptions are ad-free and content can be viewed on background.

Amazon Prime could launch in Australia

Amazon Prime, a subscription video-on-demand service that is popular in the US and UK, could soon launch in Australia, Farifax reports.

Industry sources speculate Amazon could use the launch of a new show - starring former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May - to generate publicity for a push into the Australian market.

Amazon Prime has an estimated 40 million subscribers in the US and UK, and has a host of original content deals in these markets, but it is not believed has anything inked in Australia.

'Media diversity will not be compromised' - Fifield

Media diversity will not be compromised under proposed reforms of media ownership restrictions, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has said. The package, due to be proposed to the party room on Tuesday, will also leave anti-syphoning rules unscathed, which allows free-to-air broadcasters first refusal on major sports events.

The government is likely to abolish the two-out-of-three rule, which prevents one proprietor from owning a newspaper, TV network and radio station in the same market, and the reach rule, which prevents mergers between metropolitan and regional networks. 

But Fifield told Fairfax the government will keep in place other diversity measures such as the 5/4 rule and one-to-a-market or two-to-a-market rule. The 5/4 rule requires at least five independent and separately controlled media operators in a metropolitan commercial radio licence area.

The senator added that there are no plans to merge the ABC and SBS, and TV licence fees would be reviewed as part of the budget process. 

Hywood flags print shutdown

Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood has told investors the company could cut the print editions of its mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald and the The Age should they become unprofitable, The Australian reports.

Although he did not set a timeline, Hywood said tough decisions could be made within three years. Fairfax has reduced its publishing cost base by 34% in the past four years.

A move to an online-only model would follow the closure of the Independent's print edition in the UK.

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