strange chores

Aussie kids production cut in half since quotas axed

In the wake of the Australian government scrapping children's programming quotas, only two animated titles got funding this fiscal year, according to Screen Australia.
December 8, 2021

The Australian kids TV pipeline took a hit this fiscal year, with Screen Australia reporting just seven shows going into production, down from 14 in 2019/2020.

In its latest content industry report, the government organization found that hours, budgets and spend for kids content production all dipped in 2020/2021 period, compared to the same period the previous year. (These numbers don’t factor in content that was first released online, including SVOD titles, which are classified as online drama content.) The total number of hours of kids content produced dropped by 56% to 39 hours, and overall spend on kids content decreased by about 23% to US$34 million.

This drop comes in the wake of the Australian government’s move to suspend broadcaster quotas for kids programming in April 2020. At the time, Aussie producers told Kidscreen the decision would make it more difficult to get children’s shows made in the region. The government then scrapped the quotas entirely in October 2020, which again sparked serious industry concern, with Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner saying it would have a “significant negative impact on Australian kids content.”

These shifts hurt animation producers the most in the last year, according to Screen Australia’s report. The number of animated titles produced this year dropped by 75% to just two projects—Bluey season three and The Strange Chores season two (pictured). Animated concepts received fewer commissions than live-action concepts in the kids space, and no co-productions for this audience started production in 2020/2021. Traditionally, the region sees an average of one co-pro a year make it to this stage.

Of the seven kids projects that were commissioned in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, Australian pubcaster ABC financed six, including both animated series. The live-action projects that received funding were Born to Spy, Maverix, season two of Hardball and season two of Itch. Only one title, Dive Club, was financed by a commercial free-to-air broadcaster10 Shake.

The shows that did get produced experienced an increase in per-hour spend. Animated projects cost 50% more compared to the prior year (to the tune of US$715,000 per hour), and the five live-action projects for kids cost US$929,000 per hour, up 78% from 2019/2020.

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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