Australia’s leading children’s TV producers today called on the Federal Government to review its planned media reforms, warning that abolishing the free-to-air broadcasters’ children content quotas will result in thousands of job losses.
The coalition is seeking an urgent meeting with the government to work on changing policies to sustain children’s production and enable producers to continue to access the Producer Offset.
“Unless these amendments are urgently implemented we fear many thousands of jobs will be lost and highly successful and profitable production companies will be forced to close,” the group said.
“The government’s decision to effectively shut down the production of local children’s content will have a detrimental impact on the Australian community and especially its children.”
By abolishing the quotas for children’s content and with no requirements on the streamers or other adjustments, the government has left the sector stranded, it says.
That leaves the ABC as the only readily available open door for producers. Without broadcaster commissions, Australian producers cannot access the Producer Offset.
The change will also impact the production of programs through the Australian Government’s Co-Production Treaty arrangements, as the license fees and broadcaster commissions were essential in enabling producers to reach the minimum finance benchmarks of these treaties.
“If we can’t bring that finance to the table, we can’t finance and produce Australian intellectual property at a viable volume for worldwide distribution,” it says.
The sector employs many thousands of highly skilled, mostly young, tech-smart people in a diverse and gender parity-driven industry.
Animation production is COVID-19 proof with multiple Australian productions – many working with international partners – continuing on schedule and on budget throughout the pandemic.
The statement cites a raft of shows including First Day, Bluey, Drop Dead Weird, Alien TV, Itch, Little J & Big Cuz, Bottersnikes and Gumbles, CJ the DJ, The Bureau of Magical Things, Mako Mermaids, Hardball, Thalu, Drop Dead Weird, The Unlisted, Mustangs FC, Beat Bugs, Pearlie and H2O–Just Add Water that have screened in more than 180 territories and attracted many millions of dollars in overseas production funding. No other screen sector in Australia can boast these success stories.
“Australian children’s screen producers are commercially savvy, forward thinking and above all we’re realists. We know where we need to get to, but we need rapid intervention from the Federal Government now, in the short term, to help us get there,” it says.
“We urge the government to immediately amend the new policy settings and allow this dynamic sector to continue its success stories.”
The group comprises: A Stark Productions, Ambience Entertainment, Beyond Productions, Blue Rocket Productions, BES Animation, Buster Productions, Cheeky Little Media, Emerald Films, Feisty Dame Productions, Kapow Pictures, Lalor Law, Like A Photon Creative, Ludo Studio, Media World Pictures, Mememe Productions, Moody Street Kids, Ned Lander Media, Pop Family Entertainment, Shiff and Co, Jonathan M. Shiff Productions, Sticky Pictures, SLR, Northern Pictures, Viskatoons.