An era in Australian children’s television comes to an end this Friday as Noel Price departs Endemol Australia after 17 years with Endemol and its predecessor Southern Star Entertainment.
As executive producer of children’s TV, Price created and/or oversaw some of Australia’s most successful animated and live action series including Blue Water High, Hairy Legs, In Your Dreams, Tracey McBean, a gURLs wURLd, Classic Tales and Bottle Top Bill.
“I have had a fabulous run and had great support but all good things come to an end,” Price told IF today.
His decision to step down reflects the daunting challenges of financing children’s content at a time when licence fees from broadcasters in Australia and internationally are static or falling, and young viewers have shifted from terrestrial TV to watching content online.
“The funding models have collapsed,” he said. “Networks aren’t paying the licence fees they used to and kids are watching stuff online and on mobile devices and less and less on TV.
“Also, there is a tsunami of animation being produced globally, most of it subsidised and unprofitable.”
Jenny Buckland, CEO of the Australian Children's Television Foundation, tells IF, "Noel Price has been a fixture in the Australian children’s television industry for decades, and literally millions of kids around the world would have seen his shows. His comments about the current challenges financing children’s drama are spot on. And frankly, if Noel can’t do it, nobody can."
Endemol’s Singapore-based live action and animation studio, whose last production was Hairy Legs, is winding down.
Price’s final production, the second series of live action adventure In Your Dreams, premieres on 7Two on June 15.
The veteran producer now intends to explore the possibilities of creating content for the internet, aimed primarily at teens and young adults aged under 25.
In a note to staff, Endemol Australia CEO Janeen Faithfull said, "It just won’t be the same without him, though he does leave us with such fond and funny memories."