Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Freeview should wait for the Government to complete its mandate for change before launching its private agenda. That’s the message from Bing Lee general manager Phil Moujaes, who agrees with everything the Minister is doing, but is unhappy that Freeview is muddying the waters by launching at the same time.

Talking to Current.com.au, Moujaes said that with both Freeview and the Government pushing their separate missions at the same time, the consumer could easily become confused, and that confused consumers are not good for retail business. He thinks that considering the Government was elected to make these changes, they have a mandate, but Freeview has private concerns, and thus, they should wait their turn.

“Freeview have a different agenda to a certain extent and that is, basically, they are a representative of the commercial TV stations, who have their own agenda,” he said. “As far as the Government is concerned, they have a mandate, and that should run its course first before Freeview go out there and start advertising their message.”

When speaking to Freeview CEO Robin Parkes, we asked her if she agreed that Freeview was just a cartel of the free-to-air networks, set up to protect advertising revenue. She said ‘yes’, but downplayed the cartel aspect, highlighting supposed benefits for the consumer.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” said Parkes. “Freeview is a company where the shareholders happen to be the free-to-air networks and their interest is protecting their business model.

“But Freeview exists to protect free-to-air TV for the consumer; Freeview’s mandate is to be the champion of free-to-air television for the viewer, so we continue bring leadership in TV, great quality and content and deliver that to the people, but without advertising we can’t deliver free-to-air TV, so someone has to pay and in this case it’s ad-funded.

“So there’s no hiding behind that, it’s no secret agenda, it’s an absolute fact.”

What’s your view on Freeview? Send me an email.