The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 regulates the ownership and operation of broadcasting services in Australia, including pay television (also called subscription broadcasting or subscription narrowcasting services). The regulator is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Pay television licenses are subject to certain conditions including the following:
- Subscription fees must be the predominant source of revenue for the service;
- At least 10% of annual programming expenditure on drama services must be on new Australian drama programs; and
- The licensee cannot broadcast 'R' rated materials. ('R' rating is a classification applied by the Government film censor to material which is restricted and only suitable for persons aged over 18).
Pay television operators must also comply with the anti-siphoning regime, designed to ensure that certain events are broadcast on free to air television.
Optus is a member of the Australian Subscription and Radio Television Association (ASTRA) which has developed codes of practice that deal with issues such as programming, complaint handling and customer service. The codes also provide clear and consistent information to enable consumers to make informed decisions about the nature of the programming they elect to receive.