The ACMA

Television

Children's TV

C and P programs

What are C and P programs?

The Children’s Television Standards 2009 (CTS) require commercial television licensees to broadcast minimum annual quotas of children’s programming. All C (children’s) and P (preschool) programs must be classified by the ACMA before broadcast on free-to-air commercial television.

The objectives of the CTS are to ensure that children have access to a variety of quality television programs made specifically for them, including Australian drama and non-drama programs, and to provide for the protection of children from possible harmful effects of television.

How are C and P programs different from G programs?

C and P classified programs are different from material produced for a family audience. C classified programs are intended for children (other than preschool children) who are younger than 14 years of age. P classified programs are intended for preschool children.

These programs are not simply ‘suitable for’ or even ‘primarily designed for’ children, but designed specifically to meet children’s needs and interests. C and P programs deal with stories, concepts and ideas that are of interest to children and present them in a manner appropriate for the child audience (for example, from the child’s perspective or through the use of age-appropriate themes).

Programs classified G (General) under the Commercial Television Code of Practice must be suitable for children to watch unsupervised, however they are not necessarily intended for, or aimed at, a child audience. G classified programs do however encompass a number of ‘family’ oriented programs.

C and P program classification is based on criteria contained in the CTS and the Australian Content Standard 2016 (ACS). The ACS includes specific criteria which a C, P, or C drama program must meet in order to qualify as an Australian program.

The criteria against which a program is assessed for C and P classification are set out at CTS 6(1) and (2) . All programs, whether at provisional or full C or P stage, must meet all the CTS 6 criteria.

CTS 6(1) states that a C program is one which:

  • is made specifically for children, or groups of children, of school age; and
  • is entertaining; and
  • is well produced using sufficient resources to ensure a high standard of script, cast, direction, editing, shooting, sound and other production elements; and
  • enhances the understanding and experience of children of school age; and
  • is appropriate for Australian children of a school age.

CTS 6(2) states that a P program is one which:

  • is made specifically for preschool children; and
  • is entertaining; and
  • is well produced using sufficient resources to ensure a high standard of script, cast, direction, editing, shooting, sound and other production elements; and
  • enhances the understanding and experience of preschool children; and
  • is appropriate for Australian preschool children.

For a more detailed discussion of the ACMA’s interpretation of the classification criteria please see the document Criteria for a Children’s Program.

Who decides which programs are classified C or P?

The ACMA classifies all C and P programs prior to broadcast, and may draw on the expertise of child development experts and television production experts in making classification decisions. Classification decisions are made on completed programs or on proposed programs, including proposed Children’s drama programs at pre-production stage.

Applications for classification can be made for:

  • Provisional C classification
  • C classification
  • C Drama classification
  • Provisional P classification
  • P classification

Programs that meet the CTS 6 criteria are granted classification for five years.

View the list of programs most recently classified C or P by the ACMA here.

Previous years

2014-15

2013-14

2012–13

2011–12 

Where and when are C and P programs broadcast?

The CTS require commercial free-to-air licensees to broadcast at least 260 hours of C-classified and 130 hours of P-classified programs each year within a nominated C or P period.

Licensees can nominate to broadcast C programs within the following periods:

  • 7.00 am–8.30 am, Monday to Friday
  • 4.00 pm–8.30 pm, Monday to Friday
  • 7.00 am–8.30 pm, Saturday, Sunday and school holidays.

Licensees can nominate to broadcast P programs between 7.00 am and 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Actual broadcast times of C or P programs for each licensee can be found by checking local television listings. C and P programs can be identified by the following consumer advice symbols:

candp_classification jpg

For more detailed information about the classification criteria and assessment procedures, please see Assessing children’s programs.

The Guide to children’s television classification (Word or PDF formats) summarises the ACMA’s interpretation of the classification criteria and also provides information about the assessment procedure and application requirements.

Last updated: 02 May 2017

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