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RADIO AND TELEVISION BROADCASTING
International broadcasting services may fall into any of the last five categories and are targeted, to a significant extent, to audiences outside Australia, using a radiocommunications transmitter in Australia.
RADIO AND TELEVISION LICENCES
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the regulator for radio and television broadcasting, digital broadcasting, and Internet content in Australia. As well as planning the availability of segments of the broadcasting services bands (VHF/UHF television, FM and AM radio), the ACMA has the power to allocate, renew, suspend and cancel licences and to collect any fees payable for those licences. Table 12.21 shows the number of radio and television licences on issue in Australia.
The ACMA sets various standards which must be adhered to by commercial television broadcasters. For example, the Australian Content Standard requires all commercial free-to-air broadcasters to transmit an annual minimum of 55% Australian content between 6.00 am and midnight. Further specific annual minimum quotas exist regarding the broadcasting of Australian (adult) drama, documentary and children's programmes. In addition there is a standard for Australian Content in Advertising which requires that at least 80% of advertising time broadcast each year by commercial free-to-air television licensees, between the hours of 6.00 am and midnight, be used for Australian produced advertisements.
Further information about the ACMA can be obtained from the web site, <http://www.acma.gov.au>.
TELEVISION BROADCASTING SERVICES
There were 9,094 employees working for 27 commercial free-to-air and 6 subscription television broadcasting businesses at the end of June 2003 (table 12.22). These businesses earned a total income of $5,158.8m and an operating profit before tax of $207.4m during 2002-03. Profitability was markedly different between commercial free-to-air and subscription broadcasters. The commercial free-to-air television broadcasters recorded an operating profit before tax of $658.9m, and an operating profit margin of 17.7%. In contrast, subscription broadcasters recorded an operating loss of $451.5m before tax, while their operating profit margin was negative 33.6%.
Commercial broadcast hours represent the airtime of completed first release programmes, including commercial breaks. Programme re-runs and the production time for commercials, advertisements and station programme promotions are excluded. In 2002-03 there were 54,743 commercial broadcast hours for first release productions made specifically for television by businesses based in Australia. Sport had the highest number of broadcast hours (23,556 hours or 43.0% of the total), followed by news and current affairs (17,837 hours or 32.6%). The production type with the lowest number of broadcast hours was situation and sketch comedy (71 hours or 0.1%). Productions made specifically for children accounted for 1,100 hours (2.0%).