Viewer Complaints more than double via e-mail

Complaints by viewers to commercial television stations have skyrocketed since an email complaints system was introduced in March 2010 via the Free TV website.

From July 2009 – June 2010 there were 1,292 viewers complaints received nationwide. But from July 2010 – June 2011 they leapt to 2,816 complaints.

News, current affairs and commercials attracted the highest complaint numbers, with 33% related to the classification, 22.2% complaining about discrimination and 16.3% on Bias / Inaccuracy.

But only 2.2% of viewers who did not feel their complaint was adequately addressed by networks followed up with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Of the 61 Code complaints referred to the ACMA, 16 were upheld.

Julie Flynn, CEO of Free TV Australia talked up the results as evidence that the Code was working well.

“This is a great report card. It shows that broadcasters take their Code obligations very seriously and that the Code of Practice continues to reflect community standards. Viewers and broadcasters can be confident that the Code is working effectively,” she said.

Of the complaints regarding Classification, 65% were related to Sex / Nudity issues, followed by Language (13%) and Violence (12%). Nearly half were regarding incidents in the PG timezone.

There were also big increases in complaints about Classification with 929 complaints (up from 571 the previous year), Discrimination 624 (152), Bias / Inaccuracy 458 (98) and Commercials 420 (14).

Free TV Australia has not revealed any numbers to indicate which network received the most complaints, but the data does not cover Public Broadcasters nor Pay TV nor complaints about scheduling.


  1. Tommy The Thetan

    would be a good idea for tvtonight to have the complaint contact email addresses for each channel on the front page somewhere.

    I really am totally fed up with pathetic treatment of Sport on FreeTel
    All Sport should be in HD in 2012 and live especially the big games.
    If they cant do that then at least give Fans the oppertunity to watch it on Foxtel LIVE at the same time.

    Its noddyland that I can watch American Sport in HD but I cant watch Australian Sport in HD.

  2. @ elena – That channel has sound! TV4ME has been silent since its launch for me on the Sunshine Coast, and apparently Bris31 is strengthining its signal, a guy 30KMs away now gets it!

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    “I’m thinking of publishing some of them and taking out the names….”
    That’d prob be good for a bit of a laugh.

    Maybe you should just go with the flow and set up a “TV Complaints” thread where people can vent their frustration. You would prob need to employ a moderation bot or script tho’ otherwise you’d spend all you time deleting profanity. 🙂

  4. Despite our website clearly saying we are not a tv station and dont have any influence over them..We get stacks of complaints sent to us from viewer about programming, digital reception issues, times program start etc – these have increased dramatically over the last year or so to the point we no longer have time to respond to them, to explain they need to contact the station directly, not us. We even had someone complain their digital set top box froze up and was displaying a still frame of someones bottom for the last 2 days.!! 🙂 So it doesnt surprise me that people are using email to complain more and more, it definetly is apparent by the volume we get to our site!!

  5. The volume on TV4ME keeps dropping out for 1 to 3 minutes at a time.
    This occurred during bottom line show and CommSec Entrepreneurs show Saturday 3/12 between 9.30 am and 10.30 am. I don’t know if problem continued because i changed chanels.
    Good Luck Elena

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