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Audiences as consumers - broadcasting meets Telecoms
journal contributionposted on 2017-05-01, 05:17 authored by McCutcheon, Marion, Given, Jock
Radio and television broadcasting services are popular, influential and almost universally available. For most of their history, they have been provided free-to-air. Listeners and viewers were conceived as audiences rather than consumers. This is no longer the case. Pay TV, audio- and video-on-demand services and many forms of interaction between broadcasters and their audiences mean the users of TV and radio are already consumers. They have relationships with broadcasters and expectations about them and their services that are familiar to consumers of voice and mobile telephony and internet access services.Drawing on a study for the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACANN) in mid-2009, this article explores three areas where telecommunications and broadcasting legislators, regulators and service providers are adapting to this changed landscape. First, in audio- and video-on-demand services, they are learning about new and evolving kinds of consumer behaviour. Second, the regulation of content that has always been so important a part of broadcasting regulation has expanded to telecommunication services, which historically were largely free of content restrictions. Third, the obligations of broadcasters and telecommunications providers to offer universal access to all potential consumers are being reworked. In each of these areas, as broadcast audiences become consumers and the users of carriage services become viewers and listeners, the institutional arrangements for setting and enforcing standards about communications services are being tested. Copyright 2009 Marion McCutcheon and Jock Given. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.