The Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA, and Free TV Australia have released new figures showing that our Free-To-Air (FTA) TV networks exceeding the required broadcast levels of Australian content in 2013.
Australia's Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) requires commercial television broadcasting licensees, in each calendar year, to provide Australian programs on their core/primary television services for 55 per cent of the time between 6am and midnight.
ACMA's figures show that commercial FTA TV networks averaged 64.3 per cent of Australian primary channel content.
FTA networks also broadcast more than double the amount of content required on their multi-channel networks, which was a minimum of 730 hours of local content between 6am and midnight in 2013, which increases to 1095 hours this year and to 1460 hours in 2015 and beyond.
Free TV Chairman Harold Mitchell said: "The ACMA figures demonstrate commercial free-to- air broadcasters' commitment to producing high quality home-grown content that Australian viewers love to watch."
Free TV Australia says every top 50 program on FTA TV last year was Australian, with FY 2012-2013 seeing commercial FTA broadcasters investing AUD $1.36 billion in Australian content.
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Mr Mitchell added: "Free TV remains the leading underwriter of Australian programming, despite increasing competition from companies that don't produce any local content whatsoever, and in some cases don't even pay their fair share of taxes in Australia.
ACMA reminds us that in each calendar year, an FTA licensee "must provide 20 hours of documentary, 25 hours of children's drama and 250 points of adult drama, with points being calculated with regard to genre format (series, mini-series, telemovie) and duration."
What ACMA doesn't state in its separate media release is that local TV content doesn't necessarily have to be brand new - it just has to be Australian, so repeats of old content do go towards making up the quota.
However, ACMA does state
that "under the Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, New Zealand television programs may be claimed as local content for the purposes of meeting Australian commercial television content obligations."