The Australian Film Commission (AFC) has announced an intensive workshop designed to contribute to more workable rules for the Australian Content Standard and in its submission to the ABA review of the Standard, reiterated the importance of content regulation to the health of the Australian film and television industry.
The AFC, Network Insight and Allens Arthur Robinson will host the Changing Standards for Australian Content on TV workshop on Sydney on Friday March 15. A panel of expert speakers from across the spectrum of the television industry will lead discussions about the way ahead for Australian content on TV.
The AFC is calling for all major participants in the television industry to attend the workshop and contribute to the debate."All players will need to take a position on the new rules. Audiences will be affected by these rules, as will the viability and profitability of all film and television producers, networks and stations," said Kim Dalton, Chief Executive of the AFC."We are confronting difficult issues, such as: can the networks and producers forge a single front to meet the economic and cultural challenges, and, can we keep enough quality Australian programs on our screens?"
In its submission to the ABA, the AFC argues that the current regulatory regime provides little incentive for free-to-air networks to commission higher budget drama, noting a trend to lower budget series and serials. It recommends that greater diversity be achieved by increasing the rewards to networks for high end production.
The AFC submission also notes that, although the television networks have complied with the minimum drama requirements mandated for the past 13 years, the amount of Australian drama being broadcast has declined. In 2000 the three networks broadcast 498 hours of drama compared with 597 hours in 1988/1989. Despite fluctuations this represents an absolute decrease of 16.5% over the period.
The AFC recommends an increase in the minimum amount of first release drama required to be broadcast by the free-to-air networks and strongly advocates that there be no dilution of the requirements for broadcast of children's drama.
"The community puts a high value on programming for children. Regulation and funding to encourage the production and broadcast of children's television has been very successful in Australia," said Kim Dalton.
The Changing Standards for Australian Content on TV seminar will be held on Friday March 15, from 11am to 5.15pm, at Allens Arthur Robinson, Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney. Cost is $85 per person.
For more details, go to the Network Insight website www.ni.rmit.edu.au
or contact Cris Abad, Network Insight, on 02 9460 9331.
The AFC's submission to the ABA is available to download as pdf