The three metropolitan commercial broadcasters have easily exceeded their requirement to broadcast prime time Australian content in 2010, according to data released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
All three networks surpassed the Australian Content Standard and Children’s Television Standards that require Australian programs make up at least 55 per cent of all programming broadcast between 6 am and midnight each year, with Seven Network and Network Ten posting their highest levels of Australian content in nine years.
Seven claimed 69.09 per cent, Nine claimed 64.79 per cent and Ten claimed 61.03 per cent (although it claims a particularly high level of New Zealand content under the quota).
“It is again heartening to see so much Australian content on our local television screens during 2010,” ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement.
The 2010 ratings highlighted that local programs remain popular among Australians, he said.
“All of the top 40 rating programs were Australian. As well, all the 20 top spots in the light entertainment and reality genre were Australian produced and, in drama, the top four programs were home-grown, with seven programs finding a place in the top 20. Major Australian sports fixtures accounted for the top 20 sports programs.”
The ACMA data was released as the government continues its convergence review, which is closely evaluating the policies and regulations which currently govern traditional broadcast content as other platforms become increasingly popular. A public consultation was held in Sydney earlier this week with other Australian cities to follow.
ACMA said that local documentaries were strong, with the metropolitan networks exceeding the annual quota of 20 hours for first release Australian documentaries. Seven broadcast more than 107 hours, Nine broadcast 45 hours, and Ten broadcast 36 hours.
The networks also exceeded the triennial requirement to score 860 points (which is calculated based on a program’s format factor and duration) for airing first release Australian drama over the 2008 – 2010 period. Seven achieved 918 points, Ten achieved 878 points, while Nine achieved 876 points.
The metropolitan networks also met the quota requirements for adult drama and children’s programs in 2010, according to ACMA.
Programs from New Zealand are included in the Australian content quotas as a result of a High Court of Australia decision in 1998, according to ACMA. The commercial broadcasters have dramatically increased their levels of NZ programming since 2005.
The Screen Producers Association of Australia was asked to comment on the results but did not respond.