Producing Australian Children’s Television with Public Value

11 February 2015

Producing Australian Children’s Television with Public Value

Janet Holmes a Court AC launched the book Creativity, Culture & Commerce by Dr Anna Potter at the ACTF.

Creativity, Culture & Commerce: Producing Australian Children’s Television with Public Value charts the complex developments and new settlements in children’s television that developed from 2001 to 2014, and investigates the challenges inherent in producing culturally specific content for children which must also travel to global markets.

The book is available from the ATOM Education Shop.

In launching the book, Janet said:

“… in this book Anna is exploring a significant issue, asking whether the protections that we have in place to support children’s production in Australia – the regulations, and the subsidy from organisations like the ACTF and Screen Australia – are still meeting the public value principles that inspired their inception in the first place.  And I see that in grappling with this issue, Anna has discussed and considered it from every possible angle, because she has spoken with industry players from all sides of the fence – the broadcasters, producers, regulators and funders.

Anna outlines how this industry is changing in the digital era, and asks all of us, but especially policy makers, to consider how best we can secure public value for public investment in children’s television, and in turn for the children’s audience, in a new age of niche channels, fragmented audiences and ever increasing globalisation.

I think the tremendous response to the children’s feature film Paper Planes is an overwhelming endorsement from Australians everywhere that there is immense public value in creating film and television for children that reflects their lives, their country, their voices and experiences back to them.   The value in supporting our film and television industry to provide these programs for children is not simple industry protectionism – it is an investment in our culture and a statement about the type of country we want our children to grow up in.

But in television, in particular, it’s getting harder and harder to do that.

Anna’s book explains why Australian children’s television, particularly live action drama, has a global reputation for excellence, but is still one of television’s most vulnerable genres.  For the novice and expert alike, she carefully pieces together all the bits of a complex issue….

The film and television industry is in a period of enormous change and perhaps audiences have more choice than ever, but not if the reality is that this choice all looks and sounds the same and comes from a few enormous global corporations.  We need to ensure that we celebrate our independence, that we carve out a space and nurture our stories and ensure that children get to find them and own them. 

I believe that most Australians from all walks of life and all points of view really want that for our children.  And I think that policy makers and governments of all persuasions want that too.  I just don’t think they know how hard that is to achieve.  But as the sands in the media and entertainment industries shift, we need to ensure that the fragile way our support for locally produced children’s television is held together is reinforced and made stronger.  And we need to ensure that we design our public support for children’s content in a way that achieves genuine public value.

Your book is a considerable contribution to the policy debates around this area that are bound to come, Anna.  I encourage anyone with an interest in children’s television to read it, think about it, talk about it and respond to it.”