Press release from Free TV Australia

Free TV broadcasters invested a record $1.35 billion in Australian content in the 12 months ending June, 2012.

The figure, released by Free TV Australia today, compares to $1.23 billion in FY2011, the previous record high.

This means that commercial broadcasters’ investment in Australian content has surged by $267.6 million over the last two years. This far exceeds the temporary licence fee rebates valued in the 2010-11 federal budget at $142 million.

Viewers continue to embrace local content: 45 of the top 50 shows on TV so far this year are Australian-made, according to analysis of official OzTAM and RegionalTAM data. This popular home-grown programming includes first-run Australian drama, live sport, news/current affairs and reality and lifestyle shows.

The past month alone has seen a range of Australian shows hit our screens, including The XFactor, Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War and Puberty Blues, enthralling millions of viewers nationally.

At a time of unprecedented competition for audiences and advertising revenue, commercial TV networks continue to invest in Australian programming so audiences can enjoy their favourite shows for free.

Free TV CEO Julie Flynn says: “We know audiences love Australian programming and the ratings confirm it.

“Every day, more than 14 million viewers choose to spend time with commercial free-to-air television.

“We are the leading investors in this industry, employing 15,000 people directly or indirectly while providing training and developing expertise.

“We also remain the major underwriters of the independent production sector, contracting with more than 70 independent producers.

“Commercial broadcasters continue to invest in local content, even as programming costs rise and revenues and budgets come under intense pressure from structural change.

“Those changes have permanently altered the media environment and reforms are urgently needed to ensure that broadcasters can continue to deliver a strong and vibrant Australian voice.”