ABC Oz receives huge funding boost

Australian public broadcaster ABC is set to significantly increase the amount of hours of locally originated drama it produces from 20 hours per year to over 90 hours after it received a significant funding boost.

The broadcaster also outlined plans for its new kids channel after authorities greenlit the increased budget. ABC will receive an additional A$70 million (US$53.5 million) to spend on local drama to sit alongside local hits such as East of Everything and The Librarians.

It will also see an overall funding increase of A$165 million over three years, the broadcaster’s largest rise since its inception in 1983. This includes A$136 million to launch a digital terrestrial children’s channel. The advertising-free network will run kids series for 15 hours a day and is expected to launch by November. The broadcaster is set to ensure that half of the programming is locally produced.

Mark Scott, managing director, ABC said: “It ensures that in a testing media landscape, audiences can be confident that there is a home for quality Australian drama with writers and producers given the opportunity to explore big and complex Australian themes, while families will find that the new children’s channel will produce Australian programming that parents trust and children love.”

However, the changes, which were announced as part of the government’s general budget plans, weren’t as positive for fellow public broadcaster SBS. The broadcaster received a funding boost of A$20 million, which fell below the A$70 million that it was asking for. It had planned to increase the amount of local content by 100 hours per year, but will now target 50 hours per year.