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Green Light For Broadcasting Development

The Cabinet has approved an extensive work programme and timetable for the development of broadcasting issues, the Minister of Broadcasting, Marian Hobbs, announced today.

"We will be consulting with the public and interested groups as the work programme is implemented," Marian Hobbs said.

"Rapid and continual change is the feature of the convergent industries of telecommunications, media, the Internet and other electronic distribution systems. No sector of society or the economy will remain unaffected by these forces of change. Government decisions on broadcasting issues need to take account of all these factors."

The work programme will involve initially two high-level policy papers dealing with transmission and related technology issues and public broadcasting objectives for 'content'.

Once the government confirms the policy objectives, the work programme then deals, in a coordinated way, with a variety of specific issues.

Marian Hobbs said the platform and technology issues paper would:

 Review transmission services such as terrestrial, cable, satellite and copper wire, as well as the new receivers of personal computers and mobile telephones.
 Review set-top box technology and the development of inter-activity.
 Assess the change in relationship between firms, which provide and deliver content through various technologies.
 Identify regulatory issues.

Appropriate account would be taken of work of the ministerial inquiry into telecommunications which was looking at similar issues in the telecommunications sector, the Minister said.

The second paper would cover public broadcasting and identify a range of possible delivery mechanisms. It would include such matters as the future direction of TVNZ, funding mechanisms, possible quota rules on local content and youth radio.

Following confirmation of the policy objectives specific papers would deal with:
 New directions for TVNZ
 Local content quotas
 Funding mechanisms
 Youth radio
 Digital transmission – regulatory issues
 Reservation of spectrum for non-commercial purposes
 Possible separation of BCL from TVNZ

Marian Hobbs said she hopes to have the broad policy objectives approved by the end of May.

ends

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