Producers urge for local content on multichannels

Producers from around the country will gather today for the annual conference by the Screen Producers Association of Australia.

Held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, the topics cover everything from period drama, Kids TV, casting, digital platforms, the Arts, regulation and censorship, gaming, distribution, SBS commissioning, convergence, piracy, low budget films, Disney storytelling, film festivals, online content and regional focusses on the USA, China and India.

The keynote speaker is Gareth Neame, Managing Director UK, NBCUniversal and formerly Managing Director of Carnival Films (Downton Abbey, Hotel Babylon, Poirot, As If, Rosemary and Thyme). During his time commissioning at the BBC he developed Spooks, Bodies, Outlaws, Hustle, New Tricks, Tipping the Velvet and Clocking Off.

At the conference SPAA members will again be pushing for pushing for content quotas on one mandated multichannel for each of the networks after analogue is switched off in 2013.

Geoff Brown, president of SPAA, writes in The Australian, “The simple truth is, were there no regulation, there would be very few Australian programs on free-to-air commercial networks. To see this obvious fact writ large, look at the programming for the existing multi-channels. Trawl through the TV guides and see how much Australian programming is on 7Two, Gem, Go! 7Mate, Eleven, etc. Hardly any. Why? Because there is no local content requirement on multichannels.

“The networks don’t have to show Australian programs so they don’t. And because these channels are rating, their profits increase even further and the overall Australian programming on our screens is diluted.”

TEN recently urged for a similar outcome, as it plays Neighbours on ELEVEN without attracting any drama points under the current model.

10 Comments:

  1. We need less requirements for Australian content, not more.

    I’m tired of the frequent rubbish (ie. Mal.COM, Sally Bollywood, Sumo Mouse, Wakkaville) that passes for Australian TV series for children, and the endless repeats of Australia TV series (ie Parallax) for children, which only serves to subsidize the local industry. While much better content from overseas never get a chance of been shown.

    Are hosted segments (i.e. Kids WB, Toasted TV) counted as Australian content too? I often wonder why they always have to add hosts segments for those programming blocks.

  2. I am still wishing, hoping and praying that Eleven show repeats of the great Aussie classics “The Restless Years”, “Richmond Hill” and “E Street”.

    Hell, if there was a chance that “The Restless Years” would be able to be counted towards multichannel quota’s, I would get out there and lobby the government mysellf.

  3. How much did the commercial networks pay for their digital channel licences? Answer – nothing. How are they viable? Because the Hollywood studio output deals feed them more hours than they can use on the main channel and there are thousands of hours to cheaply relicense. So expect the networks to argue the familiar “digital channels can’t afford an Australian quota, no matter how small” or the new red herring, “we have so much new media to compete with”. Free to air TV remains dominant. Groundhog day!

  4. Go for an increased overall Australian content across the network, with a minimum of that amount to be on main channel, then the balance either also on the main network or on secondaries.

  5. Armchair Analysst

    i have said this before and i will say it again the content has to be cheap or very good to be shown on the digital (soon to be main) channels. If they are not then i cant see any thing happening on that front.

  6. This could be good or bad depending on how the networks would treat it but I fear that the quality of Australian content will drop if the multichannels got counted and they will just chuck anything Australian on the them to count toward the local quota but could also see some good Australian shows stay on the air a little longer if their ratings drop a little. My solution would be count Australian content on the multichannels at a 50% less rate to if they were on the main networks.

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