MEAA makes the case for protecting children’s TV drama

15 June, 2020 by Don Groves

The Producer Offset for Australian live action children’s drama should be raised to 40 per cent and all platforms including streaming services be mandated to produce or co-fund children’s content, according to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The MEAA advocates additional funding for the ABC as the central children’s TV content production house and transmitter, while reducing the commercial television C and P quotas in proportion to the ABC’s increased production levels.

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In its submission to the Federal Government’s options paper, the union representing 8,000 performers and crew supports the retention of quotas for Australian drama programs and documentaries for commercial television and extending these quotas to ABC, SBS and NITV.

While the union acknowledges the broadcasters’ TV advertising revenues have taken a hit, that has been partially offset by their booming BVOD revenues. “The commercial television sector is resilient, adaptive and combative,” it says.

In common with Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and most other stakeholders, the MEAA calls for streaming services to be required to invest at least 10 per cent of their revenues in Australian programs and that a fixed portion of each streaming service’s catalogue be Australian content.

“It is well past time that our content rules were modernised to reflect contemporary viewing habits and consumption and to capture a portion of the budgets overseas entities like Netflix and Amazon expend on programs each year,” its submission says.

“It is plainly unsustainable that the part of the screen industry with the greatest capacity to pay bears no responsibility to producing and carrying Australian content, especially in an environment where these providers can now access government-funded Location and PDV Offsets.”

The union also backs SPA’s case to amend the definition of ‘first release’ so that content first aired in New Zealand cannot be classified as first release Australian content.

In a move which would not be welcomed by feature film and TV producers, it proposes a platform/format neutral 30 per cent Offset, and 40 per cent for children’s live action drama production and other Australian productions that have a majority of Australian creatives.

But it proposes lowering the existing spending threshold of $500,000 per hour for a range of production types to broaden access to the Offset and removing the 65 hour cap for TV series.

The union also wants to see the Location Offset raised to 30 per cent and for productions to be eligible for both the Location Offset and the 30 per cent PDV (Post Digital Visual Effects) Offset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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