Territory report: Australia

With 84 TV hours a week, Oz's ABC Kids looks to purchase new programming

SYDNEY — Government-enforced quotas on Australian-produced children’s content ensure the domestic industry’s reliance on U.S. programming is limited.

Pubcaster Australian Broadcasting Corp. has the biggest appetite for children’s fare after the Aug. 1 launch of Oz’s first digital channel — ABC Kids. Channel transmits 84 TV hours a week via free-to-air digital, and feevee carriers Optus metro cable and AusStar regional satellite.

ABC buyers at Mipcom Jr. will be looking to purchase programming for ABC Kids and its free-to-air Channel 2, which broadcasts 36½ hours a week of children’s fare.

Net’s new programmer, Deirdre Brennan, has identified a trend toward shorter programs, and is looking for five-minute toons and 10- to 15-minute programs for 8- to 12-year-olds, and also seeks half-hour shows for 12-plus.

On Channel 2, locally produced staples “Playschool” and “Bananas in Pajamas” continue to perform well, despite a time change for the former from 4 to 3:30 p.m. The latest series of “Bananas” has been boosted by a handful of new characters. A second series of girlie horse drama “The Saddle Club” is in production and BBC toon “Bob the Builder” is garnering attention off the back of a top 10 single inspired by the show.

The Seven Network’s top kids shows are locally produced magazine program “The Big Arvo” and a weekly two-hour package of Mouse House animation and drama, Saturday Disney.

The Nine Network’s U.S. kids broadcasting is limited to its daily half-hour of “Looney Tunes Classics,” which the web picks up as part of an output deal.

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