The bosses of Seven, Nine and Ten have again argued their case for less government regulation in their beleaguered networks, this time calling for the children’s content quota to be culled.
Seven’s Tim Worner, Nine’s Hugh Marks and Ten’s Paul Anderson all appeared at a parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of the film and television industry in Sydney yesterday and all were singing from the same hymn sheet.
Each of the networks are required to make 130 hours of original kid’s content each year, or about 2.5 hours a week. Each network is also required to make 32 hours of local drama per year.
One boss describing the kids’ content quota as “spending millions to make programs that are watched by thousands”.
Seven’s Worner told the inquiry: “It’s clear that children are not watching the C and P content that is designed for them on commercial television.” The C referring to children and the P for pre-schoolers.
“We’re spending millions of dollars on children’s content for just a few thousand viewers. Some of the audiences are down to an average of 6000,” Worner said.
Adding to the free-to-airs’ woes, the likes of Netflix, Google and Facebook aren’t beholden to the same licensing laws as Seven, Nine and Ten.
Ten’s Anderson, whose network is in voluntary administration, said the kids’ quota laws were “heavy and restrictive” and “no longer sustainable”. Anderson added that his preference was to make more family-friendly shows such as MasterChef or The Bachelor.
Nine’s Hugh Marks said the huge sums networks were required to spend on kids’ content was “a waste valuable resources on unproductive outcomes. We are wasting our money, your money, taxpayers’ money, making shows for an audience we can’t reach. These valuable funds should be employed elsewhere to the benefit of the whole industry.”