Published on 6 August 2013
How well children’s television production in Australia responds to the challenges of the digital era will indicate how healthy the country’s film and television industry is overall, according to a University of the Sunshine Coast academic.
Lecturer in Communications Dr Anna Potter is currently writing a book about her research into the creative, commercial and cultural factors involved in the production of children’s television shows.
Dr Potter said her book, planned for publication in 2014, would discuss the growing global popularity of Australian children’s shows and the potential impact of productions made collaboratively with international partners.
She said while this global popularity was positive, the continued production of quality, locally produced programs depended on safeguarding the current quota of Australian shows on free-to-air commercial networks.
“We can look at Australian children’s television production as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ of the Australian television and film production industry,” she said.
“As soon as quotas for quality, Australian, independently produced children’s television shows start to decrease on the commercial networks, the health of the local film and TV production industry is compromised.
“Therefore, it is more important than ever for the industry to take note of trends, including how technology has changed the way children watch television and the popularity of dedicated children’s channels like ABC3.”
Dr Potter said the way in which governments supported the cultural content of television could impact on creative practices.
“This is especially true for children’s television if children are to receive high-quality, identifiably Australian television to watch,” she said. “The existing policy settings ensuring that subsidised content quotas apply to commercial networks must be maintained, and perhaps even increased.”
Dr Potter’s background in commercial television has included working in London for Rupert Murdoch's PAY TV operation BSkyB, where she specialised in program production and classification.
Her academic awards have included a $10,000 Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation in 2009, USC’s 2012 Best Early Career Research Presentation award and a 2013 Dean's Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence from the University of Queensland.
Dr Potter’s book is being written with the support of the Australian Children's Television Foundation.
— Jessica Halls