The children’s audience is the most important audience of all and first-run children’s production should be seen across all commercial content service providers, including subscription services.
A submission by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation to a government options paper on Supporting Australian Stories on Screen says Australia has been a world leader in high-quality children’s screen content.
co wants the ABC to have at least $40 million to commission and produce children’s content, and SBS to have $20 million for children’s and youth content.
But it believes that removing children’s program obligations from commercial broadcasters, without securing Australian children’s content at much higher levels than currently occurs on the public broadcasters, is insupportable.
The ACTF supports a model where all commercial content service providers, including subscription services, invest a percentage of their revenue in new Australian scripted content and report their investment to the ACMA.
There has been some debate around commercial networks abandoning Children’s TV obligations and contributing to a production fund. But ACTF wants commercial broadcasters and streaming services to screen first run children’s content.
“We prefer a model which sees commercial platforms investing in content for their own platforms, rather than avoiding commissioning Australian content by paying into a fund. We would rather see Australian content on commercial platforms,” the ACTF submission said.
“If a “one size fits all” expenditure requirement is adopted, then it will need to be designed in such a way to ensure that it delivers volume, quality and diversity. There should be an expectation that 20% of overall expenditure will be applied to children’s scripted content. Because a “one size fits all” approach does not recognise different business models and audience strategies, it may be preferable for content service providers to negotiate bespoke content investment strategies with ACMA, and set principles and parameters for those negotiations so that ACMA can ensure that across the broad scope of commercial platforms the end result ensures diversity of content for multiple audiences.
“The outcome of that approach would not necessarily see children’s content on every service provider – it would mean that wherever a commercial service provider is targeting a children’s audience, there will be significant Australian children’s content on that service.”
ACTF also wants public broadcasters to provide content for children up to 16 years-of-age, and for additional Australian content for children to be provided wherever a commercial service targets children.