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Media Statement
31 October 2017 

Commercial TV is again the home of local drama

Screen Australia’s Drama Report released today confirms commercial free-to-air broadcasters were again the largest investors in Australian drama production in 2016/17. 

The report finds that commercial free-to-air broadcasters invested $107 million directly into local drama production in 2016/2017—about as much as all other sectors combined.

“Contributing more than any other sector to Australian drama demonstrates our proud commitment to being the cornerstone of the local production industry,” Ms Pamela Longstaff, Acting CEO, Free TV Australia said today. 

This has been another incredible year for Australian drama on commercial TV. Returning popular dramas like The Secret Daughter, Love Child and Offspring have been joined by a host of new dramas. Remarkably, 2017 saw the iconic Home and Away and Neighbours titles enter their 30th and 34th seasons respectively.

Commercial broadcasters have an unwavering commitment to local content. Almost 80 per cent of their programming expenditure is on local content. 

“The challenge for policy makers is to ensure that the settings are right so that we can maintain this record commitment to local content in the face of new technology and changing audience demands.

“The Government’s Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review is very timely. It is an opportunity to make sure that regulation keeps pace with the modern viewing habits of Australians,” Ms Longstaff said. 

Free TV’s submission to the review reiterates the sector’s commitment to Australian adult drama and proposes modest changes to the quota system and financial incentives to recognise the increasing costs of production and the value of long running titles. 

“We reject entirely any suggestion that we have devalued the child audience. In fact, commercial networks invest millions in making and promoting award winning children’s shows. But the fact is these programs are being watched by a mere 0.2 per cent of children. 

“Hundreds of thousands of Australian kids are joining the rest of the family in enjoying new entertainment shows on commercial TV. They are just not watching shows made specifically for them on commercial TV.

“The Screen Australia report confirms that commercial broadcasters are vital to the content production sector. It’s a role that commercial networks are committed to playing, supported by the regulatory reforms needed to keep pace with today’s audience,” Ms Longstaff said.

Download a PDF of the media release here