Prime Television (Victoria), a licensee of Seven Network, has not broadcast any local content in Mildura for 16 months, breaching local content rules, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has found.
Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, regional commercial TV licensees must broadcast a minimum amount of local news or other material of local significance.
Seven is obliged to provide 100 minutes of local content or 50 minutes of local news per week as a condition of its licence to broadcast TV in the Mildura area.
Seven is obliged to provide local content in Mildura after it acquired the Prime regional television network in December 2021.
Local content rules now apply to Mildura service and to former Prime services in other regional markets from July 2022, the ACMA said.
Seven met the local content requirement for its television services in seven other regional markets.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin emphasised local content is hugely important for regional audiences.
“Regional television audiences are entitled to content that is meaningful to their local area and, in the case of Mildura and its surrounding areas, Seven has let its viewers down.”
“This is especially disappointing given a network of Seven’s size and sophistication should have been on top of and meeting its regulatory obligations.”
“The period of non-compliance has remained unresolved for more than a year, to the detriment of local residents in and around Mildura,” O’Loughlin said.
ACMA discovered the non-compliance after it reviewed compliance reports submitted by Seven.
Seven will enter a court enforceable undertaking and will comply with the local content rules by no later than 4 February 2024.
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