The Australian Content Standard defines documentary as ‘a program that is a creative treatment of actuality other than a news, current affairs, sports coverage, magazine, infotainment or light entertainment program’. Commercial television broadcasters must screen 20 hours of documentary programs per year in order to meet their quota requirements under the Australian Content Standard.
The guidelines are intended to provide guidance for broadcasters and the production industry on what programming is likely to meet the test for documentary in the Standard, and what is more likely to fall into one of the other non-fiction formats listed in the definition.
In devising its guidelines, the ACMA consulted with television broadcasters, the production industry, and film funding and policy agencies. The ACMA issued a draft set of guidelines and called for comments on the draft.