Free TV ups Aussie content as viewers turn to local

By By David Blight | 24 September 2012
The Voice judges Keith Urban, Delta Goodrem, Seal and Joel Madden.

Free-to-air commercial broadcasters invested a record $1.35 billion in Australian content in the last financial year, as local audiences embrace home-made programs.

The figure invested compares with the previous record high of $1.23 billion from the 2011 financial year.

The increased spend has been justified by the fact that Australia's highest rating programs continue to be locally created.

So far this year, 45 out of the 50 highest rating shows have been Australian-made, according to OzTam and RegionalTam.

These shows include The Voice Grand Final, with 4.4 million people watching across metro and regional, The Block finale, with 4.2 million, and the third match of the State of Origin, with 4 million viewers.

Free TV chief executive Julie Flynn said: “We know audiences love Australian programming and the ratings confirm it.

“Every day, more than 14 million viewers choose to spend time with commercial free-to-air television.

“We are the leading investors in this industry, employing 15,000 people directly or indirectly while providing training and developing expertise.

“We also remain the major underwriters of the independent production sector, contracting with more than 70 independent producers.

“Commercial broadcasters continue to invest in local content, even as programming costs rise and revenues and budgets come under intense pressure from structural change.

“Those changes have permanently altered the media environment and reforms are urgently needed to ensure that broadcasters can continue to deliver a strong and vibrant Australian voice.”

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