Australian TV content | ACMA

Australian TV content

One of the ACMA's objectives is to promote the role of broadcasting in developing and reflecting a sense of Australian identity character and cultural diversity.

Australian content for commercial free-to-air television

Australian content on commercial television is regulated by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), Australian Content Standard (ACS) and Television Program Standard 23 - Australian Content in Advertising.

The BSA requires all commercial free-to-air television licensees to broadcast an annual minimum transmission quota of 55 per cent Australian programming between 6am and midnight on their primary channel. They are also required to provide during the same time at least 1460 hours of Australian programming on their non-primary channels.

Australian Content Standard

The current Australian Content Standard 2016 came into effect on 31 March 2016. The ACS sets out specific minimum annual sub-quotas for Australian drama, documentary and children's programs that all commercial free-to-air television licensees must broadcast.

Related pages and documents

2017 Australian Content Conversation

In conjunction with the Department of Communications and the Arts and Screen Australia, we held a two-day conference and explored themes including the importance of Australian content, the diversity of local voices and the regulatory challenges and opportunities in a world where citizens expect access to the content they want, when and where they want it.

Featuring a dynamic format and mix of sessions, the conference informed and inspired a wide range of professionals in this significant area. Attendees included content regulators and representatives from all avenues of content production, distribution and consumption in Australia; as well as content creators and content buyers for the major free-to-air and subscription broadcasters. 

The conference overview report (Word, 423 kB) is a high-level summary of the wide-ranging discussion over the two days.

2016 remaking of the Australian Content Standard

Due to the automatic ten year sunsetting clause on this legislative instrument, the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2005 was due to be repealed on the 1 April 2016. The ACMA proposed to remake the standard with only minor changes that did not have material effect to the standard's operation. The proposal was published on the ACMA's website and comment was invited to be received by 15 February 2016. Two submissions were received. The Australian Content Standard 2016 was made on the 23 March 2016, to commence on the 31 March 2016.

2009 variation to the Australian Content Standard

As a result of changes to the Children's Television Standards (CTS) following a review, the ACMA has varied the ACS to ensure that references to the CTS within the ACS are correct. The 2009 variation came into effect on 1 January 2010. Electronic versions of the 2009 variation and its Explanatory Statement are available below:

The ACMA invited comment on the proposed variation by 31 October 2008. No submissions were received.

2010 variation to the Australian Content Standard

As a result of changes incurred to television licensees by the Television Licence Fees Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 1), the ACMA varied the ACS. This was a technical amendment to the ACS to allow newer licences commencing part way through a reporting period to pro-rata their content quota obligations. Prior to this amendment, the ACS did not accommodate newer licensees which have not been able to broadcast their full quota due to not being on air for all of the relevant period. Licensees commencing a commercial television broadcasting service on or after 2 January in a year now have yearly and triennial quotas readjusted proportionate to the time that those licensees actually broadcast.

The 2010 variation came into effect on 27 November 2010.

Electronic versions of the 2010 variation and its Explanatory Statement are available below:

The ACMA invited comment on the proposed variation (Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard Variation 2010) by 22 October 2010. No submissions were received.

Australian content in advertising standard

The standard for Australian Content in Advertising requires at least 80 per cent of advertising time broadcast each year by commercial free-to-air television licensees, between the hours of 6am and midnight, to be used for Australian produced advertisements.

Last updated: 26 June 2019