Children’s TV “on the brink”

"We currently stand on the brink of a great opportunity or an irretrievable loss for our nation’s children," says ACTF.

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of an additional $20million funding, but warns of a crossroads for Children’s TV.

The government’s removal of Drama, Documentary and Children’s sub-quotas means networks can devise their own mix of the three genres to come up with 250 points annually -with a cap on 50 for documentary.

“Children’s screen content is both a mirror and a window in a child’s life. We currently stand on the brink of a great opportunity or an irretrievable loss for our nation’s children, the broader community, and our local screen industry,” said Jenny Buckland the CEO of the ACTF, “by making this announcement the Minister has shown that he recognises how important it is that Australian children see their lives reflected on screen, they experience recognition, affirmation, and gain positive role models; helping them to imagine all the possibilities for someone who looks and sounds like them.”

The new quota rules removes any compunction for commercial broadcasters to meet a minimum of 260-hours-per-year of children’s content (both drama / non-drama). Screen Producers Australia, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance and the Australian Writers’ Guild have all expressed concerns over the demise of children’s content on commercial TV, leaving a cash-strapped ABC to pick up the slack.

In a statement the Australian Writers’ Guild said, “Kids’ content is likely to be the first casualty because of this decision, which will have a lasting and irrevocable impact on our culture. Although the government will boost ACTF’s support package by $20m to compensate for this announcement, it is unclear if they will increase funding to the ABC and SBS, who will be left with the critical responsibility of programming local content for future generations of Australian children. Our stories say something about us. They define who we are. Our children deserve them.”

Janet Holmes à Court, Chair of the ACTF Board added, “This additional funding will help us be the catalyst for more of the amazing children’s content like Hardball, Little Lunch, The Inbestigators, Little J and Big Cuz, Mortified and Lockie Leonard, that the ACTF has been supporting and distributing for nearly 40 years.”

3 Responses

  1. 7,9,10 are now just been making low budget, low quality infotainment and game shows to meet the quota,shown chock full of toy ads, which won’t be missed. The cross roads was 25 years ago. Sure they made Round The Twist and some other shows but that was 30 years ago. They were making a few animated shows that could be re-voiced and distributed globally, but even that has stopped now.

    The ABC is only network showing quality children’s TV so nothing changing there, except the CTF gets an extra $20m p.a more funding to help them. These shows are funded by Arts bodies, the local producers, (who are getting an increased tax credit), and increasingly overseas co-producers. Little Lunch and The Bestigators were mostly funded by Netflix, Bluey by the BBC who air it in the UK and distribute it globally. The ABC puts very little money into actually making anything.

  2. Good riddance, the free funding just leads to poor content, and it is rare for anything decent to be produced locally.

    Have people seen the current guidelines ( kidscreen.com/global-pitch/abc-australia/ ) for content on the ABC? the crazy focus on diversity, with no mention of quality at all, is only going to lead to worse content in the future.

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