Oz retains 10% feevee spend

Next review for content regs set for 2008

SYDNEY — Hollywood-owned movie pay services and other drama channels won’t have to up their investment in Oz programming as the government decided Wednesday to stick to the 10% rule.

Producers had lobbied the government to double the local spending level to 20%. Drama channels are obliged to allocate 10% of their annual programming budgets to new Aussie productions; that has resulted in annual investments of A$15 million-A$20 million ($12 million-$16 million) in local dramas. Recent beneficiaries include the pic “Somersault” and the Foxtel-commissioned series “Love My Way.”

Communications and Arts Minister Sen. Helen Coonan said the government will now allow limited pre-production expenditure on script development to count toward the requirement and allow spending in excess of 10% to be carried forward and treated as new expenditure in the following year. The content regs will next be reviewed in 2008.

The U.S.-owned Showtime movie channels, which used to invest in a broad spread of Aussie films, has moved away from that strategy in favor of miniseries, which it can promote as event programming. Its first mini is Kennedy Miller’s “Mango River,” about the hunt for the 2002 Bali bombers.

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