Screen Producers Australia are up in arms over the lack of new Aussie drama on Network Ten.
The network failed to commission any new adult drama in the 2014-15 financial year, and SPA are calling for change.
According to The Australian, SPA says its not good enough for commercial broadcasters to count New Zealand dramas as “first-run Australian drama” in order to satisfy local content quotas.
“Australian television drama is at a critical juncture with measures urgently needed,” SPA said, following Screen Australia’s annual drama report which showed that spending on Aussie drama fell by 13 per cent, and is again expected to fall again in the next year.
SPA chief executive Matt Deaner said “critical alarm bells are chiming,” when it comes to local tele, and Screen Australia’s chief executive Graeme Mason agreed.
“Looking forward, what we’re nervous about is TV drama, not that the broadcasters don’t want to do it, it’s just really expensive and there are challenges, like cuts to the ABC, SBS and us,” he said, per The Australian.
Both execs feels the television producer offset should be bumped up to 40 per cent, aligning it with feature films, if it ever hopes to compete with overseas markets like the US.
According to The Australian, Deaner also feels media regulators should bin the rule of NZ drama counting as Australian for the purpose of local quotas.
According to ACMA, 36 per cent of Nine’s “first-release Australian drama” last year came from across the ditch, and the amount of Kiwi drama in 2015 for Seven, Nine and Ten is expected to boom.
“At the moment the Australian public’s being diddled and the industry is being diddled,” Deaner said.
He also criticised the former Labor government’s decision to relax quotas by allowing broadcasters to air first-run drama on secondary channels, with Ten’s only drama commission for the last financial year, Neighbours, airing on Eleven.
Defending itself, Ten said it had a number of Aussie dramas coming up, such as Brock, Mary: The Making of a Princess, and the return of Offspring, and Neighbours, as well as other new projects soon to be announced.