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Survey: We luv Australian telly

A survey shows overwhelming support for Australian content, helping the ABC to push for increased government funding.

The ABC has released the results of a Newspoll survey in its campaign for increased funding from the federal government.

The survey conducted nationally for the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, found:

– 64% of Australians think the government should regulate the minimum amount of Australian programmes shown on Free to Air.
– 69% believe the government should regulate a minimum amount of Australian programming on the ABC.
– 64% believe it is important Australian programs can be accessed through new media platforms.
– 65% want increased funding for Australian children’s shows on the ABC.
– 64% favour increased funding for more Australian drama programs on ABC.
– 79% wanted more funds for Australian documentaries on ABC.

72% support regulation of minimum amounts of Australian children’s television, which is already in place, while 61% support the same for local drama and documentaries.

The survey shows a strong affiliation between ABC audiences and Australian content. This year the broadcaster already found popularity with shows including Spicks & Specks, Enough Rope, The Gruen Transfer, Australian Story, ABC News and Bed of Roses.

No doubt many respondents were moved by the ABC’s push for better government support. But the results don’t indicate whether viewers are angry the ABC’s drama slate has diminished over the years. It doesn’t tell us how many kids still watch ABC children’s programming (another report today suggests they are losing younger viewers). It doesn’t declare whether viewers would be happy for advertising to pay for the increases in funding, or a hike in taxes.

And it doesn’t tell us how many of the respondents consider themselves ‘ABC viewers’ nor how many have Pay Television.

Still, they are heartening results, we love our Aussie telly. We kinda knew that already, right?

Press Release:
New research has found that 64% of Australians think the Federal Government should regulate the minimum amount of Australian programs shown on TV. The Newspoll research, conducted nationally for the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, also found that 72% of Australians support regulation for minimum amounts of Australian children’s programs and 61% for minimum amounts of Australian drama and documentaries on free to air television.

The research also showed that 69% of Australians believe the Government should regulate the minimum amount of Australian content shown on the ABC – in line with the commitment the ALP made while in Opposition which will, hopefully, soon be fulfilled.

The research also found 64% of respondents believe it is important Australian programs can be accessed through new media platforms, with 31% believing this is “very important”. Respondents in the 18-34 age groups, presumably high users of new media platforms, are even more in favour with 76% describing this as “important”, of whom 37% believed it was “very important”.

Proper funding for the ABC is also a high priority. The Newspoll research found that 65% of Australians believe there should be increased funding for the ABC to broadcast more Australian children’s programs, 64% favour increased funding for more Australian drama programs, and 79% wanted more funds for Australian documentaries.

“It’s clear that there is overwhelming demand for an increase to ABC funding as part of broad support for Australian programs. The Government must take this into account when considering the triennial funding for the ABC which is due in the May 2009 Budget,” said Simon Whipp, Director – Equity Section of the Alliance.

The research findings will be released at the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Australian Content Conference – Australia: You’re Watching It, an initiative of Alliance and The Equity Foundation in conjunction with the ABC, Screen Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

The agenda-setting Sydney conference is being held on Monday 1 and Tuesday 2 December. “This is a pivotal moment in our cultural history and now is the time to get the blue print for the media of the future right,” Whipp says.

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