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AUSTRALIAN Children's TV drama

Number produced, hours, budgets, spend and average cost per hour, 1990 /91–2020/21

Next update December 2022

Historically, children's TV drama tended to fluctuate year-to-year due to broadcasting compliance regulations for the commercial free-to-air networks, however policy changes in 2020 mean that these broadcasters can, but are no longer specifically required to, commission children's drama to acquit their new content obligations.

To provide more specific insights into production for different release platforms, Screen Australia re-categorised the titles that contributed to the 2021/22 Drama Report. These changes have been applied to the last five years of data in the report. It is Screen Australia’s intention to apply these new categories to Fact Finders in 2023. In the interim, caution is urged when comparing data to the years prior to 2017/18. Please see the full report (page 4) for more detail on the changes.

1990s -  an average of 12 titles were made annually, generating a total of 825 hours of content. The average cost of an Australian children's TV drama in this period was $4.50 million, or $660,000 per hour. Of the 121 titles produced, 38 were animated.

2000s - the average number of titles rose slightly to 13 each year, with total hours increasing significantly to 1,347. The average cost rose to $6.73 million per title, or $655,000 per hour. Of the 131 titles produced, 68 were animated.

2010s -  this past decade saw the average number of titles largely unchanged at 12 each year, while the total hours of content fell to 1,114. The average cost fell to $6.40 million, however the average cost per hour rose to $706,000. Of the 123 titles produced, 78 were animated.

An average of less than one foreign children's TV drama has been shot in Australia since 1990/91. Due to the small sample size, they are not included in the table below. For foreign TV drama figures see: All TV drama formats.

After strong results in 2007/08 and 2008/09, Australian children’s drama production contracted over the following three years, which to some extent reflects the cyclical nature of this type of production. The 2012/13 result represented somewhat of a recovery, with 17 titles worth $94 million produced, generating 159 hours of children's TV drama content.

In 2020/21, seven children’s dramas entered production, generating 39 hours of content, at a total cost of $48 million.

As part of a broader package of policy changes, in late September 2020, the Australian Government announced changes to content obligations for commercial free-to-air broadcasters – see Television > Content regulation.