ACCAN recently submitted to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ Streaming Services Reporting and Investment Scheme Discussion Paper. The discussion paper requests comments on a potential scheme to ensure that streaming services, such as Netflix, Stan and Disney+, invest in original Australian productions and promote local content on their services. ACCAN made five recommendations:

Recommendation 1: ACCAN recommends the resourcing of an organisation to provide a representative consumer voice in media reform issues. Currently there is no organisation resourced to advocate on behalf of consumers on issues of broadcasting and streaming.

Recommendation 2: ACCAN recommends that all local content counted towards reporting requirements have high quality closed captions and audio description. It is important that all Australians can access local stories and participate fully in Australian cultural life.

Recommendation 3: ACCAN recommends that streaming services should publicly report on their local and total offerings that feature closed captioning and audio description. There is little public information on the availability of closed captioning and audio description on streaming services. Making that information public and easily accessible would allow consumers to make more informed decisions about which streaming services to use. It would also allow everyone to see which services are making efforts to ensure that their catalogues are more accessible.

Recommendation 4: ACCAN supports the investigation and oversight of discoverability of Australian audio-visual content by the ACMA. On streaming platforms, making sure consumers can find local content can be just as important as getting the productions made. This is an emerging area of concern and there needs to be more investigation and oversight.

Recommendation 5: ACCAN recommends that the ACMA consider the accessibility of menus and interfaces as a key reporting requirement of discoverability reporting and oversight. The structure of menus is an essential part of streaming services and accessibility should be a key part of considerations of the discoverability of Australian content.

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