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free-to-air programming 

First-release drama share of evening programming (5 pm to midnight) and Australian content, 1998

Foreign drama dominates the evening schedules, but the ABA requirements for first-release Australian drama programs are generally met (see Free-to-air industry > Content regulation).

The requirements were more than met in 1998. Seven broadcast 209 hours of Australian first-release drama during evening viewing period, mainly serials (115 hours of Home and Away), and the series All Saints and Blue Heelers (41 hours respectively). Ten’s 237 hours of Australian first-release drama was mainly the serials Neighbours and Breakers (113 and 80 hours respectively), 14 hours of the series State Coroner and 16 hours of the sketch comedy Totally Full Frontal. Nine’s Australian first-release drama totalled 141 hours. It included the series Water Rats (31 hours), Murder Call (18 hours) and Good Guys Bad Guys (13 hours) and the serial Pacific Drive (40 hours).

While there were relatively few Australian films broadcast in 1998, movies were a major genre of foreign drama (especially for Seven and Nine). Drama series and situation comedy were the other main forms of foreign drama, with these undifferentiated in the case of the Ten network.

  Seven Nine Ten Total
Total hours1 732.7 Total hours1 661.8 Total hours1 611.3 Total hours1 2,005.8
Share of hours (%)1 Aust. content (%) Share of hours (%)1 Aust. content (%) Share of hours (%)1 Aust. content (%) Share of hours (%)1 Aust. content (%)
Total   29%   21%   39%   29%
Movies (features& telemovies) 15% 0% 24% 8% 12% 13% 17% 7%
Mini series 2% 25% 3% 20% 1% 90% 2% 30%
Drama serials 16% 100% 6% 100% 33% 95% 18% 97%
Drama series 52% 21% 42% 30% 51% 4% 48% 18%
Situation comedy 14% 2% 22% 2% - - 12% 2%
Sketch comedy (comedy variety) 1% 100% 4% 0% 3% 100% 2% 48%

Source: Australian Broadcasting Authority, Compliance Trends & Issues No.6, 1999.

Notes:
Three-city average (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), including programs funded by the Commercial Television Production Fund. Any discrepancies in the totals are due to rounding. Drama has been categorised using ACNielsen program categories; the ACNielsen drama category of ‘comedy variety’ correlates with the ABA’s sketch comedy category.
1. ‘Hours broadcast’ refers to first-release drama broadcast between 5 pm and midnight.

Hours of first-release local and imported drama broadcast by commercial free-to-air networks, 5 pm to midnight, 1998

  Hours broadcast1
Seven Nine Ten Total
Local Import. Local Import. Local Import. Local Import
Total 209.4 523.3 141.1 520.7 237.0 374.3 587.5 1,418.3
Movies: features & telemovies - 111.2 12.5 145.7 10.0 65.1 22.5 322.0
Mini series 4.4 13.2 4.0 16.5 4.7 0.5 13.1 30.2
Drama serials 115.0 - 38.5 - 192.3 9.8 345.8 9.8
Drama series 82.0 301.4 83.5 192.5 14.0 298.9 179.5 792.8
Situation comedy 2.0 97.5 2.5 142.6 - - 4.5 240.1
Sketch comedy (comedy variety) 6.0 - - 23.5 16.0 - 22.0 23.5
  Share of hours broadcast (%)1
Seven Nine Ten Total
Local Import. Local Import. Local Import. Local Import.
Total 28.6% 71.4% 21.3% 78.7% 38.8% 61.2% 29.3% 70.7%
Movies: features & telemovies - 15.2% 1.9% 22.0% 1.6% 10.6% 1.1% 16.1%
Mini series 0.6% 1.8% 0.6% 2.5% 0.8% 0.1% 0.7% 1.5%
Drama serials 15.7% - 5.8% - 31.5% 1.6% 17.2% 0.5%
Drama series 11.2% 41.1% 12.6% 29.1% 2.3% 48.9% 8.9% 39.5%
Situation comedy 0.3% 13.3% 0.4% 21.5% - - 0.2% 12.0%
Sketch comedy (comedy variety) 0.8% - - 3.5% 2.6% - 1.1% 1.2%

Source: Australian Broadcasting Authority, Compliance Trends & Issues No.6, 1999.

Notes:
Three-city average (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), including programs funded by the Commercial Television Production Fund. Any discrepancies in the totals are due to rounding. Drama has been categorised using ACNielsen program categories; the ACNielsen drama category of ‘comedy variety’ correlates with the ABA’s sketch comedy category.
1. ‘Hours broadcast’ refers to first-release drama broadcast between 5 pm and midnight.

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