The context of media convergence

This Inquiry provides the opportunity for fundamental reform of Australia’s classification laws to meet the challenges of a convergent media environment. Developments associated with media convergence include:

  • increased household and business access to high-speed broadband internet;

  • the digitisation of media products and services, as seen with the rise of YouTube, Apple iTunes and other global digital media platforms;

  • the convergence of media platforms and services, for both established and new media;

  • the globalisation of media platforms, content and services, making nationally-based regulations more difficult to apply;

  • the acceleration of innovation, characteristic of a more knowledge-based economy;

  • the rise of user-created content, and a shift in the nature of media users from audiences to participants;

  • greater media user empowerment, due to both greater diversity of choices of media content and platforms and the increased ability to personalise media; and

  • the blurring of lines between public and private media consumption, as well as the ability to apply age-based access restrictions, as more media is accessed from the home through converged media platforms.

Piecemeal regulatory responses to changes in technologies, markets and consumer behaviour have created uncertainty for both consumers and industry, and blurred questions of responsibility for driving change.