Children’s TV “problematic” for Nine

"Children aren't watching that content on our network anymore," says Nine boss.


Nine CEO Hugh Marks has questioned the license obligations attached to Children’s Television, claiming children, noting children are increasing consumers of on-demand content.

Speaking at the Screen Forever conference last week he conceded, “Children’s Television is problematic for us.

“The thing is in an old environment – a one channel environment – before the advent of on demand services and ABC3 there was a license obligation to provide content for children.

“That license obligation is still there. But the fact is children aren’t watching that content on our network anymore. So there is money from us going into that content, there is money from the government going into that content, and money from (Producers’) Offset going into that content. Is that the right allocation of effectively a limited pool of resources for local content? Or should that be looked at in another way?”

But he didn’t rule out a wholistic industry approach to address Children’s TV quotas, noting ABC3 offered an excellent service.

“Should we be saying as an industry, ‘Would it be better for that money to be going into more Adult Drama than Children’s Drama?’ I’m not advocating that as the solution, but I think it’s something we should look at as an industry,” he suggested.

“Children are the ones who are really entering into that On Demand environment. Capturing them on the main television screen is a huge challenge.”

However Nine will add a 9GO! KIDS block in 2017, comprised of international content, and the network has announced a revival for Hi-5, previously co-owned by Southern Star Entertainment when Marks was its CEO.

“We’re looking at doing a local kid’s sport show, so we will try and find a business model that can match where audiences might be. That will be more advertiser-driven,” he added.

11 Responses

  1. “Capturing [children] on the main television screen is a huge challenge.”
    It might help matters if Go didn’t repeat the same handful of kids shows & films over & over again. My son is a fan of the original Thunderbirds, but has given up watching it on Go as they only seem to broadcast the same 5 or 6 episodes.

  2. I wasn’t aware that 9 had any kids programs until I searched just now and found them on go.
    9 might get more viewers if they didn’t keep them secret. I guess they are hoping to kill them all off.

  3. So this is the chief executive who lobbies Federal government to pay less licence fees on the basis of their Australian content obligations including children’s programs. The fact is that all the commercial free to air networks have been lobbying for 20 plus years to get rid of their kid’s content obligations, long before the internet, streaming and even PAYTV. So on the one hand they want protection from competition but accept no obligations for doing so. Fortunately to date no government has agreed.

  4. It’s true children aren’t watching TV much anymore with YouTube, Netflix, Gaming ect.

    But I think it’s deeper than that. Children now have had a taste of high-budget or more interesting shows. Avatar for example. The problem with a lot of the content produced by Nine (and Seven) is that they’re made all colourful, dumb and frankly more at a pre-school audience. So of course the primary school demographic is just going to scoff at what is slim pickings.

    Channel 9 simply isn’t making any shows which appeal or connect with kids ,they need to rethink and show the children (their audience) more respect, not just pandering.

  5. Kids TV is not a priority for TV networks anymore & nor has it been! ABC needs more resources to do kids TV properly but with commercial networks not wanting to pay more fees that won’t happen! If the goal is increasing viewership of kids shows then just put it and promote it online ! Kids r on tablets anyway so target them there simple!

  6. Where is Humphrey B Bear these days? What about C’mon Kids? I would rather see something like that on TV than some CGI rubbish that kids have today on ABC Kids. Nine have neglected to invest in kids TV and the audience have gone elsewhere. Nine could better utilise their state based resources and create local Jobs in places not in Sydney. Get Adelaide to produce C’mon Kids again or make a deal with the current owners of Humphrey and gets these icons back on TV.

    1. Problem is mascot characters like Humphrey Bear quickly aren’t interesting to children once they’re 6 or 7, for most primary school aged children they have no interest in that kind of thing. They’d rather something with more adventure like Pokemon or Ninja Turtles.

  7. The current children’s morning and afternoon animation content looks terrible, I see it when I’m at the gym. No wonder kids don’t want to watch it. Where are the classics like Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold, and the many other 90’s animation shows we looked forward to each night on ABC from 5pm?

    1. Daria’s on SBS Viceland, for what it’s worth. But I think every generation deserves it’s own new programs.

      I do however support the screening of Daria.

      And if you’re really desperate for a 90’s linear TV experience, you could lobby Foxtel to launch “The Splat” in Australia.

    1. I think you’re missing the point. Hugh doesn’t want kids to watch 9’s children’s content – he wants the rules changed so 9 can ignore kids’ content if they want.

      And if the public insist insist that kid’s content is important? Well, the ABC can pick up the slack…

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