Documentary, drama and children’s quotas scrapped under new government revamp

The government has revamped and revised its rules surrounding television funding, production incentives and obligations to quotas.

Below TV Blackbox has published the full government announcement so that readers can click all relevant links to fact sheets and information. Responses from Nine, Seven and Foxtel are published underneath the government announcement.

Modernising Australian screen content settings

The Government is supporting Australian screen content by injecting $53 million for the development and production of local content as well as modernising Australian content regulation.

The Australian Government is supporting the provision of quality Australian screen content injecting $53 million for the development and production of local content as part of the 2020–21 Federal Budget and modernising content regulations.

This announcement responds to the Government’s extensive consultation process undertaken with the release of the Supporting Australian Stories on our Screens. Submissions to this paper can be found at www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/supporting-australian-stories-our-screens-options-paper.

Australian Screen Production Incentive changes

The Government will harmonise the Producer Offset at 30 per cent for eligible Australian film and television production, while also making complementary threshold and integrity amendments across the three film tax offsets.

For more information, go to www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/screen/australian-screen-production-incentive.

Funding

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation will receive $20 million over two years (from 1 July 2021) for the development, production and distribution of high-quality Australian children’s content. The Government is also providing and additional $30 million to Screen Australia over two years (from 1 July 2021) to support Australian drama, children’s and documentary film and television production. In addition, Screen Australia will receive $3 million over three years (commencing in 2020–21) to establish a competitive grants program to cultivate quality Australian screenwriting and script development.

Commercial broadcasters

From 1 January 2021, the Government will simplify and provide greater flexibility for commercial broadcasters to show Australian drama, children’s and documentary content.

Information about the proposed changes to content obligations can be found at Fact sheet—Modernising Australian Content Obligations.

Information about the current obligations can be found at https://www.acma.gov.au/content-rules-commercial-tv.

Subscription broadcasters

The Government will move to reduce content expenditure obligations on subscription broadcasters for new drama programming from 10 per cent to five per cent of eligible drama spending from 1 July 2021.

Information about the content obligations for subscription broadcasters can be found at www.acma.gov.au/spending-subscription-tv-drama.

Streaming video services

The Government will ask large video streaming services operating in Australia to report on their level of investment in Australian content to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The Government will engage with affected services about the scope of the request.

Further information

Statement from the Seven Network

Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) today welcomed the Morrison Government’s announcement
of modernised Australian content quotas for commercial broadcasters and enhanced
incentives to support Australian content production.

James Warburton, SWM Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Government regarding new funding in the Budget to deliver Australian Screen Content.

“The increase to the Producer Offset tax incentive production for TV series in particular, is a
great result for the whole sector, that will fuel strong investment and growth in a sector that
has been hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19.

“We remain strongly committed to Australian content and welcome the changes to TV content quotas, which will provide greater flexibility to for us to invest more in those programs that audiences want, and to adjust to changing audience preferences. This is a big step in the right direction and also recognise the importance and value of series like Home and Away, the number one Australian drama which has been on air and produced locally for 33 years strong. “We look forward to working with the Government on the implementation.”

Statement from Nine

Statement from Hugh Marks, CEO at Nine:

“Nine welcomes this important step in the vital reform needed for our local production sector. It will not only provide a much needed boost to local content production but enable us to better compete in the global content industry.  We will work with the Government to finalise some of the details, but overall this is an important and much needed overdue step in the reform process and we appreciate the time and consideration taken by the Minister to get us to this point,” said Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine.”

Statement from Foxtel

Comments from Patrick Delany, CEO, Foxtel Group on Paul Fletcher’s announcement today:

“The package of measures announced by the Federal Government to support local production is a good outcome for Australia, which will see more home-grown stories on our screens.

“Foxtel looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with Screen Australia to kick-start new productions and employment in the creative sector, which have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. We also look forward to featuring the results of work between our channel partners and the Children’s Television Foundation on Foxtel.

“The Government’s package represents a starting point for Foxtel’s future investment in award-winning Australian drama and entertainment.  They provide us with flexibility as we plan new productions, and importantly they recognise television is now producing world-class drama that is much-loved in Australia and sought after internationally.”

Aaron Ryan
Aaron Ryan is currently the Broadcast Guide Editor and a News Contributor for TV Blackbox. An experienced media writer, his work has appeared on sites including TV Central and Mumbrella since 2009. Aaron can be heard weekly on Gold and Power FM | Call/Text - 0400 218 566
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