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Australian and New Zealand drama content on subscription television.



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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND DRAMA CONTENT ON SUBSCRIPTION TELEVISION.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced a series of measures in response to the March 2005 review of Australian and New Zealand drama content on subscription television.

Subscription television broadcasting licensees and program providers who broadcast channels predominantly devoted to drama programs are required to spend at least 10 per cent of their program expenditure each year for these channels on new Australian drama.

Consistent with the outcomes of the Review, amendments will be made to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) to provide for limited pre-production expenditure on script development to count towards the 10 per cent expenditure quota on new eligible drama on subscription television, and to allow qualifying expenditure in excess of the 10 per cent requirement in any one year to be carried forward and treated as new eligible expenditure in the following year.

“These amendments will encourage greater investment in script development for local drama. They will also allow for higher levels of investment in a single project and greater flexibility of investment by allowing expenditure in excess of the annual quota to be carried forward to the next year,” Senator Coonan said.

The Government has also decided to amend the definition of a ‘drama program’ for subscription television under Division 2A of Part 7 of the BSA so that it is consistent with the definition of ‘Australian drama program’ within the Australian Content Standard (ACS). This change is consistent with the original intent of the provision.

“In order to provide the subscription television industry with certainty in relation to proposed investment in Australian drama content under the quota requirements, the Government intends that these changes will have effect from 1 January 2006,” Senator Coonan said.

The Government intends to introduce legislation in the Autumn 2006 sittings of Parliament to implement these measures.

www.minister.dcita.gov.au

12 January 2006