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Spending and targets

Spending and targets: 2020 to 2021

The subscription TV industry spent $8.75 million on Australian drama programs in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

Spending on eligible shows included:

  • Dramas – Wentworth (series 8) and Mr Inbetween (series 3)
  • Feature films – Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears and H is for Happiness
  • Children’s drama – Bluey (series 3) and 100% Wolf.

The tables below provide total industry results aggregated across licensees, channel providers and pass-through providers.

Table 1: Compliance snapshot

Compliance snapshot 

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

Total spending on new Australian drama in financial year






Were all minimum spending requirements met?






Table 2: Compliance analysis

Compliance analysis 

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

($ m)

Total new drama spending target






Total amount of current year spending on new Australian drama plus total previous year carry-forward (as nominated toward target)






Total shortfall to be made up next financial year






* Results reflect the ACMA’s temporary relief due to COVID-19 impacts on content productions and supply chains.

In April 2020, due to impacts of COVID-19, the ACMA agreed to exercise temporary forbearance by not taking enforcement action for subscription television licensees for non-compliance with the NEDE scheme for the period up until and including 31 December 2020. Noting that this forbearance includes 2 compliance periods (2019–20 and 2020–21), the ACMA’s approach to implementing this forbearance is to adopt a NEDE revised target of 5% of total program expenditure for the financial years 2019–20 and 2020–21.

This approach balanced the need for some regulatory relief and certainty for subscription television licensees, while still supporting audiences’ access to new Australian drama.

The temporary forbearance period has now concluded. From 1 July 2021, the ACMA expects licensees and channel providers to meet the 10% expenditure target as required by the current legislation.

The ACMA notes that the government’s recent Media Policy Statement included its proposal to amend the legislated NEDE Scheme to permanently reduce minimum levels of expenditure on new drama programs to 5%. If this proposal is passed by the Parliament, this reduction would be implemented by the ACMA.

NEDE scheme 2020–21

Five subscription TV licensees supplied one or more subscription TV drama services to audiences in 2020–21. These licensees were Foxtel, Optus, Selectra (Austar), Telstra and Fetch TV. 

There were 19 subscription TV drama services provided in the reporting period: BBC First, BBC UKTV, Boomerang, Box Sets, Cartoon Network, CBeebies, Comedy Central, Fox Classics, Fox Comedy, Fox Crime, Fox Funny, Fox One, Fox SciFi, Fox Showcase, Fox Sleuth, Fox 8, Nickelodeon, Universal TV and Foxtel Movies (Ultra, Premiere, Hits, Family, Kids, Action, Comedy, Thriller, Romance, Drama, Greats, Lifetime Movie Network). These services were provided to licensees by BBC Worldwide Australia, Foxtel Management, NBC Universal International Networks Australia, Nickelodeon Australia, Viacom International Media Network Australia, and Turner Broadcasting Systems.

NEDE results

All licensees supplied 2 drama services, Universal TV provided by NBCUniversal International Networks Australia and UKTV provided by BBC Studios Australia, that met the 10% spend obligation for FY2020–21.

Two drama services did not meet the NEDE revised target for FY2020–21 and have an aggregated expenditure shortfall of $0.03 million that must be made up in FY2021–22 to stay within minimum spending rules.

All but one licensee, Fetch TV, met their minimum spending requirements in 2020–21.  A total of $38,160 was not acquitted according to the rules of the scheme. As remediation for the non-compliance, Fetch TV and its channel provider have undertaken for this expenditure shortfall to be invested in new Australian drama in 2021–22.

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