Screen Australia has today released a report which provides new insights into how children engage with screen content.
The report, entitled Child’s Play: Issues in Australian Children’s Television 2013, revealed that children appreciate Australian content and prefer programs made specifically for them. (Ninety one per cent of the children interviewed said they “liked” programs designed specifically for them, with over half stating they “liked them the best”).
Screen Australia’s Chief Executive, Ruth Harley, said, “This research clearly demonstrates that there’s an appetite for quality children’s television content. Programs made specifically for children are different from material produced for a family audience because they deal with stories and issues of interest to kids in appropriate ways. The delivery of quality Australian children’s programming is essential to the cultural well-being of young Australians, so that they have the opportunity to see Australia’s identity, character and cultural diversity reflected back to them.”
Interestingly, the findings of the report also showed financing involved with children’s content has become increasingly difficult in the current media landscape.
As stated by Screen Australia, “Children’s programs attract lower broadcast licence fees than programs for adults, and finance is even tighter as audience fragmentation places pressure on advertising revenues. Australian children’s programs also rely heavily on foreign finance, so the global financial crisis together with the strong Australian dollar have created extra challenges for the sector.”
The release of the report prompted a reaction from the Screen Producers Association of Australia, who issued their own statement to the press welcoming the research undertaken by Screen Australian and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.
Within the statement, SPAA’s Executive Director Matthew Deaner says, ““This is a more sophisticated picture of what children want to watch. It shows that when compared to family viewing times, television ratings alone often understate the importance of children’s programs to children. What we can now see is the extent to which they are discerning viewers, seeking out content made specifically for them when they have control of the remote.
"Following the alarming decline of investment by broadcaster platforms, coupled with the now relaxed quota requirements, the vital and valued role of Australian children’s content runs the risk of being undermined by market forces. This research punctuates the industry’s ongoing calls for an increase in the Producer Offset for television production and the need to nurture new commissioning opportunities for multiplatform content across emerging distribution models.”
The report can be downloaded from http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/childsplay