Australian viewers can look forward to more chups with their fush and lots of laughs at that number that comes after five, as commercial broadcasters deliver more New Zealand television to their screens.
According to Australia's communications watchdog, TV networks are boosting their use of New Zealand programs to meet the quotas for local content, with the Ten Network the worst offender. Under the trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand, Kiwi programmes count as Australian content.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority found that more than 25 per cent of the first-release Australian drama aired by Ten last year was actually from New Zealand. Ten was far ahead of the Nine Network, where about 10 per cent of drama was from New Zealand, and Seven, which aired no New Zealand drama.
The TV networks also faced criticism for fudging the categories they used for their content, with several examples of networks labelling a program a mini-series when it was a series, in a bid to get more points under the ACMA system.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: "Australian content quotas have played an important role in maintaining the production of quality Australian stories and programs to screen on commercial free-to-air television."
The union representing actors was critical, saying the trend towards screening more New Zealand shows underscored the need to implement the recommendations of the convergence review for higher quotas for drama.
But a Ten spokesman defended the network, pointing out that its long-running series Neighbours was not counted under the local content rules because it screened on 11, not 10, which is the core station.
- The Age
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