Less cats & dogs, more local content say Producers.

Cat videos in primetime is of "no benefit," says Screen Producers Australia.


Industry voices have reminded networks to uphold local content instead of running animal video clips following ratings drawcards Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud and Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud on Seven.

Seven has another tomorrow night followed by more cats next week.

Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia told TV Tonight, “Screen Producers Australia doesn’t think that running UK cat and dog clip shows in prime time is of any benefit for local Australian producers, however this is a worldwide market we are in and we need to take note of what viewers are watching. To be fair to Seven, this show was only put in the schedule due to a failure of a locally produced show.

“We would rather there was a focus on the Seven Network making more shows with the independent sector than criticise them too much for what clearly was a response to the performance of an Australian show.

“We are of course concerned to ensure, more generally, that all the commercial free to air networks are commissioning prime time content from the Australian independent production sector.”

Meanwhile Zoe Angus, director of Actors Equity, echoed similar sentiments in an interview with News Corp.

“My concern is that the balance is out of kilter,” she said. “Commercial networks invest much more money in reality than local dramas.”

But Seven’s director of programming Brad Lyons pointed to upcoming local dramas Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door and 800 Words.

“We believe in good stories that are well told,” he said.

“Drama has always been part of our DNA and mantra. I think people still have an appetite for Australian stories, whether short form or long form.”

19 Responses

  1. This is exactly what’s wrong with television landscape … Screen Producers telling viewers what they want … They don’t want more crappy local badly produced reality shows … They want to watch cat videos … Why aren’t the netwworks listening to their viewers and giving them what they want ?

  2. Commercial television started its life totally opposing Australian drama quotas and when they didn’t win this they have done their best to dilute the quota as much as possible. In the same breath they have opposed any competition for spectrum on the basis they have Australian content obligations. Now they argue their licence fee should be reduced because of these same obligations. The loser has been the Australian consumer and Aussie drama output in particular steadily declines. Sadly with less production there is less innovation, less training and an inevitable decline in quality. And David defining a New Zealand production as Australian because it may have some Australian money in it is ridiculous. It is ironic that New Zealand which has never had quotas for its own local production has successfully sought to have NZ production regarded as Australian quota under the Closer Economic…

  3. I can’t wait for reality tv to have its day. It is because of this genre and the market saturation, I plus millions of others have turned to Presto Netflix etc, or even heading down to cash converters to get a nice second hand boxset of your favourite stuff. What ever happened to the 41 42 episode a year tv drama? I think All Saints was the last of its kind. Reality tv sucks. I am glad Restaurant Revolution bombed. I did love the cat videos though.

  4. If I was the Seven Network bean-counter and I saw what it cost them to buy a show of clips lifted from YT and the ratings it got, I would be recommending that they go and buy a bunch more. Aus TV is a joke but the joke isn’t that a network thought it might be a good idea to broadcast YT clips in primetime, the joke is that nearly a million people made a conscious decision to watch them. Collectively, we get what we deserve.

  5. Whilst I realise the ceo has to diplomatic in his response, but saying things like he doesn’t want to be critical of a you tube video show as it was a response to a failed Australian show, is simply not strong enough. That failed reality show was another food reality show. By the end of this year there will be 4 food reality shows, 4 renovations shows, 2 singing shows etc. In comparison to the high amount of reality, Australian drama in particular 1 hour weekly Australian drama is non existent. The balance isn’t just “out of kilter”, there is no balance.

  6. Who can blame Australians for wanting to watch Youtube clips of cats and dogs when the best scripted drama we can come up with is House Husbands and Winners & Losers. Seriously, is this the pinnacle of TV drama? This is what networks are betting their fortunes on? And to think that yet another plodding Rebecca Gibney TV series is in the works.

  7. All good points. And it’s a shame. But when cats on YouTube rates through the roof you can’t blame 7

    Screen procedures aust also has a responsibility to pitch and develop dramas that aussies want to watch

    7 is in a hole anyway. Short term game for 1 night. But not much to be proud of airing shows like cats off you tube

    Should be moved to two or mate

    1. I think you’d be surprised at what is actually getting pitched, but the networks continually commission safe shows, otherwise known as boring shows. For independent producers, unfortunately there’s no money for development; so the producer has to weigh up the reality of spending time developing and pitching something they would love to make – no matter how out there or niche it may be, for no payment, or writing the same old claptrap that continually gets commissioned.

      Getting paid outweighs constant rejection.

    1. I agree that 800 words is a NZ show and should be seen that way though I don’t think it really matters where the lead actor is from. Americans don’t watch American dramas just because a lead is Australian. Whereas there should be room for nz dramas on Australian tv, (like step dave which hasn’t returned to tv since airing the first couple of episodes on GEM in january), it shouldn’t be at the expense of Australian dramas filmed in Australia.

        1. Whilst you are technically correct its not about where the money has come from or that its a co-production. As a viewer when I look at the promos and I read about it, it has the look and feel of a NZ drama and that’s what I go on.

Leave a Reply