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Commercial TV licensees met Australian content quotas in 2013

All metropolitan commercial television broadcasting licensees reported meeting main channel (55 per cent) and multi-channel (730 hours) transmission quotas for Australian content in 2013, according to figures published today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The transmission quotas apply to programs televised by free-to-air commercial broadcasters between 6am and midnight each calendar year and are specified by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Australian content on commercial television’s main broadcasting channels remained high, with the Seven Network providing an average of 69% local programming, Nine Network an average of 65% and Network Ten an average of 59%.

2013 marked the first year of the new transmission quota for broadcasters’ multi-channels. This new Australian content obligation was comfortably met by all metropolitan broadcasters by more than double the minimum requirement. The quota has increased to 1095 hours for this year (2014).

Following recent legislative amendment, licensees were also provided flexibility to meet quota requirements in the Australian Content Standard (ACS) and Children’s Television Standards (CTS) on multi-channels from 2013. All broadcasters utilised this flexibility by providing a variety of Australian drama, documentary and children’s programs on multi-channels, notably:

  • Seven Network licensees provided the vast majority of its children’s programming on 7Two and 7Mate, along with some documentaries and a miniseries (The Cult)
  • Nine Network provided two thirds of its Australian drama on multi-channels, as well as all children’s programs on Go!
  • Network Ten claimed the Australian drama Neighbours for the first time since 2010, making up one third of its drama score and, by the completion of 2013, transitioned its children’s programming to Eleven.

Under the Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, New Zealand television programs may be claimed as local content for the purposes of meeting Australian commercial television content obligations.

In 2013, fifty one per cent of the first release Australian drama provided by the Nine Network’s metropolitan licensees was from New Zealand, compared with 7 per cent for Seven Network and 4 per cent for Network Ten.

Following investigations by the ACMA, technical breaches were found in relation to three Nine Network licensees who broadcast two programs that failed to meet the definition of a children’s program (C program) under the CTS. As a result, the programs could not be claimed towards the licensees’ relevant C program quotas in 2013. The broadcasters in question have taken steps to ensure the programs now meet the relevant requirements of programs being classified by the ACMA.

Metropolitan broadcasters met the ACS and CTS quotas in 2013 in all other respects.

More information about the results is available here.

For more information, please see the backgrounder below or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 41/2014—25 July.

BACKGROUNDER

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) requires commercial television broadcasting licensees, in each calendar year, to provide Australian programs on their core/primary television services for 55% of the time between 6am and midnight. In addition, on television services other than a licensee’s core/primary television service (i.e. multi-channels), the BSA requires that licensees must transmit 730 hours of Australian programs between 6am and midnight in the 2013 calendar year, increasing to 1,095 hours in 2014, and 1,460 in 2015 and beyond.

Under the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2005 (Australian Content Standard), the ACMA stipulates minimum sub-quotas of first-release content for Australian (adult) drama, documentary and children’s programs. Specifically, in each calendar year, a licensee must provide 20 hours of documentary, 25 hours of children’s drama and 250 points of adult drama, with points being calculated with regard to genre format (series, mini-series, telemovie) and duration. The Australian Content Standard also provides triennial quotas for drama and children’s drama which are set above the accumulative yearly requirements.

The ACMA also administers the Children’s Television Standards 2009, which aims to ensure children have access to quality television programming as well as protecting them from the possible harmful effects of television. The Standards require commercial television broadcasting licensees to provide 260 hours of Children’s classified programs and 130 hours of Preschool children’s classified programs at designated times across a year. In order for programs to count towards a licensee’s quota obligations, the programs must first be classified by the ACMA as either ‘C’ or ‘P’ programs prior to broadcast.

Following legislative amendment in 2013, the ACMA standards can be satisfied across a licensee’s television broadcasting services (that is, across main and multi-channels).

Last updated: 24 May 2016

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