A year after Australia’s federal government abolished kids’ content quotas, the effects of the controversial decision are becoming apparent.
In a new industry report, public funding body Screen Australia has noted a steep decline in the production of content for children, both animated and live-action, over the past year. Below are some key figures (note that they don’t include streaming productions, which are classified separately):
- Seven kids’ tv shows went into production in 2020/21, compared to fourteen in the previous year: a drop of 50%.
- Only two of those were animated: Bluey (season three) and The Strange Chores (season two), both of which were financed by pubcaster ABC. That’s down from eight titles last year, and a five-year average of six.
- The number of hours of kids’ animation produced declined year on year, from 55 to 13.
- But the two shows that were produced were better funded than animation in previous years. They cost AUD$1.038 million (USD$740,000) per hour on average, up from AUD$694,000 last year.
- No children’s co-productions — live-action or animated — began production in the past year. An average of one per year has started production over the past five years.
For decades, linear broadcasters in Australia had to meet a quota of 55% Australian content, alongside sub-quotas such as 260 hours of kids’ programming and 130 hours of preschool programming per year. In April 2020, the government suspended the sub-quotas (but not the 55% rule), arguing that Australian productions had been halted by Covid.