Outcome 1 was achieved by Level and mix of Australian
ABC Television through the delivery content on television
of Output 1.2:
Present television programs of wide appeal First release and repeat Australian program
and more specialised interest that hours as a percentage of hours broadcast.
contribute to the diversity, quality and Between 6pm and midnight the total
innovation of the industry generally. percentage of Australian content on ABC
ABC Television broadcasts a diverse and Television, at 60.5%, reached the highest level
innovative range of Australian and international for five years. The total of Australian content
programs. Schedules include programs 6am to midnight was 56.3%, lower than the
designed to appeal to a large audience as well previous year (58%) but higher than the years
as content developed for specialised interests. 1998-2000.
Television is seeking to strengthen its position 62
as a broadcaster of difference and 60
distinctiveness in a media environment that is 58
increasingly competitive across free to air 56
broadcasting, subscription services and new
The ABC achieved an average weekly 50
metropolitan audience share of 15.3%
6am-midnight, 0.3% higher than for the last six 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
months of 2000-01, when the new Australian 6am – midnight 6pm – midnight
audience ratings system commenced. Share
Australian Content as a Percentage of Hours Broadcast
of average weekly regional audiences, at
16.7%, was higher than the year before. First release Australian content
The average weekly metropolitan audience The percentage of first release Australian
share for prime time (6pm – midnight) was content between 6pm and midnight on ABC
16% and in regional markets 16.8%. Television was 53.1% compared with 49.3% in
An average of 69.4% or 9.2 million viewers 2001, reflecting the ABC’s strategic approach
in metropolitan areas tuned to ABC Television to focus scarce resources on the achievement
at some time each week (audience reach), a of higher levels of first release and Australian
reduction on the reach of 73.9% or 9.7 million content in prime time (6pm – midnight).
people for the last six months of 2000-01 There were 7.4% repeat Australian programs
when the new ratings system began. compared with 8.5% the previous year.
Average weekly regional audience reach was
68.9% or 4.1 million viewers (a small decrease
on the 2000-01 figure of 70% or 4.1 million).
[ ABC TELEVISION ] ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 51
Between 6am and midnight the level of first Genre diversity
release Australian content during 2001-02
increased to 33% (up from 32.2%) while 4% 5%
repeats of Australian programs was reduced 3%
to 23.3% (down from 26%).
30 Arts Drama Movies
20 Children’s Education News
Comedy Entertainment Religious
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Current Affairs Features Sport
Repeat 6pm – midnight First release 6pm – midnight Documentary
ABC Television Australian Content 1998 – 2002 ABC Television Genre Mix 2001-02: percent of hours
(6pm – midnight) broadcast (6am – midnight). (Excludes interstitial material).
80 Arts and Culture
The ABC is Australia’s major arts broadcaster.
During 2001-02 ABC Television broadcast 387
50 hours of arts programs, 178 hours Australian.
40 This compares with 129 hours of Australian
30 arts of a total 316 hours of arts programs in
2000-01. The weekly program, Coast to
Coast, was replaced with an enhanced
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Sunday afternoon arts schedule. As well as
Repeat 6am – midnight First release 6am – midnight
the afternoon arts show, ABC Television began
commissioning prime time arts documentaries.
ABC Television Australian Content 1998 – 2002 The strategy is to locate arts content across
(6am – midnight)
the television schedule.
Several musical history series were broadcast
including the acclaimed Jazz series and a
portrait of Australian country music Heart of
Country. A history of Australian rock and roll
Long Way to the Top; and international series,
Walk on By – The Story of Popular Music
both achieved audience shares of 18 percent,
slightly above the usual figure for this timeslot.
ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 52 [ ABC TELEVISION ]
Kath and Kim, a series about a suburban
mother and her adult daughter, proved to be
one of the most popular Australian television
comedy series ever broadcast.
Two comedies were scheduled to coincide
with the 2001 Federal election: a situation
comedy about fictitious politicians, Corridors
of Power, and a satire, The Election Chaser,
featured six writers and performers
“predicting” the result in a parody of
Long Way to the Top TV series with Johnny O’Keefe. election night broadcasts.
Four special programs marked the Australian A Hand for Ruth, broadcast on 20 May, paid
Ballet’s 40 year anniversary: Inside the tribute to Ruth Cracknell who died earlier that
Australian Ballet, looking at the passion month, featuring interviews and clips from
and commitment of the artists; Beyond 40: theatrical, television and film performances,
Anniversary Gala, celebrating the Ballet’s recognising her contribution to the community,
40 years with performances by the current the arts and ABC radio and television.
company plus archival footage; Divergence,
a contemporary ballet; and Three Ballerinas,
about three of Australia’s greatest prima The ABC continued to support provocative
ballerinas, Marilyn Rowe, Marilyn Jones and and engaging documentaries. The ABC had
Lucette Aldous. commissioned all documentaries nominated
for the 2001 AFI awards: Cunamulla, Facing
Children’s the Music, Playing the Game and Wonderboy.
The ABC maintained its place as Australia’s
Two weekly one hour slots were dedicated
most comprehensive free-to-air broadcaster
to documentaries: The Big Picture, and True
of children’s and pre-school children’s
Stories. Facing the Music, from filmmakers
programs. With 1 645 hours of Australian and
Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly, won
international children’s television programs,
two 2001 AFI Awards, including Best
the focus remained on innovative programs
Documentary. Following Robin Anderson’s
that satisfy the diverse interests of children
death, the ABC broadcast a series
two to fifteen years.
commemorating her contribution to
New programs included two Australian Australian documentary.
animated series, Old Tom and Tracey
Half-hour documentary series continued,
Macbean as well as new series of Play
including: DIY Law, about Australians
School, the sixth series of Bananas In
representing themselves; Selling Australia,
Pyjamas and the return of The Saddle Club.
looking at the Australian tourist industry; and
Yen for a Dollar, focussing on doing business
in Australia and Asia.
[ ABC TELEVISION ] ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 53
A history strand was introduced on Sunday
evenings with The Six Wives of Henry VIII,
achieving a share of 22.8%, an increase of
5.4% for that timeslot over the previous year.
Another four-part series, Elizabeth I, continued
in the timeslot, gaining an average share
East Timor: Birth of a Nation was broadcast
in May 2002 to coincide with the formation of
East Timor’s new government.
TV series Changi.
From left to right: Tony Hayes, Stephen Curry, Matthew
Drama Newton, Matthew Whittet, Mark Priestly and Leon Ford.
In 2001-02 the ABC broadcast over 370 Bridesmaids’ Business, based on the play
hours of first release drama programs, by Elizabeth Coleman, were well received
including almost 100 hours of first release by audiences, gaining shares of over 20.0%.
Australian drama. The Australian productions
consisted of serial drama, series, mini-series Australian drama serial, Something in the Air,
and tele-movies. This compares with 350 ended in May 2002. ABC Television and its
hours in 2000-01 of which 95 hours were production partners were unable to maintain
Australian programs. the high financial commitment to keep the
series on air.
A festival of classic Australian films was
broadcast in September, including The Chant Overseas drama such as Shackleton, a
of Jimmy Blacksmith, The Devil’s Playground, historical drama series attracted a share
Breaker Morant and Newsfront. of 21.4%. Murder Rooms: Tales of the Real
Sherlock Holmes, had an average share of
Blue Murder was screened in NSW and 22.3%, compared with the 2001 timeslot
the ACT in July and August 2001, six years average of 15.4%. The Lost World, based on
after it was seen by the rest of Australia. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, combined live
The controversial and award-winning drama, action with computer-generated effects to
recognised as a landmark in Australian attract an average share of 21.2%.
television, could not be broadcast earlier
in NSW and the ACT for legal reasons. Factual
Changi, an innovative drama series about An evolving series of new specialist programs
a group of ex-prisoners of war and their for the early evening, under the title of
memories of captivity, earned a share of Dimensions, premiered in August 2001.
22.0%, making it the ABC’s most watched It began with programs on media, health
program in the Sunday evening timeslot and relationships with each aspect of the
in 2001. series designed to reflect on aspects of
everyday life in Australia.
Two Australian feature length dramas,
The Road from Coorain, based on Visions for a Nation, part of the Centenary
Jill Kerr-Conway’s novel and Secret of Federation celebrations, featured past
ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 54 [ ABC TELEVISION ]
Australian Prime Ministers and State and A new series of Bush Mechanics, with rural
Federal Parliamentarians discussing the Indigenous Australians ‘reinventing’ the
opportunities and benefits enjoyed by motorcar, achieved an average share of
Australians. 18.8% (timeslot average 16.7%).
The media commentary and analysis program,
Mediawatch, returned in April 2002.
Factual – Special Events
The ABC continued 70 years of broadcasting
tradition, 29 years on ABC Television, with live
broadcasts of Anzac Day marches in each
capital city. On 24 May 2002, the ABC
provided a live broadcast from Hobart of
the State Funeral of Alec Campbell, the
last Anzac. TV series Bush Mechanics.
The funeral of the Queen Mother was
Religion and Ethics
broadcast live on 9 April and a documentary,
Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother, was Compass, produced by ABC Religion and
shown commemorating her life. Ethics department, explored issues of
spirituality, analysed social phenomena and
Documentary series, Queen and Country
examined secular issues from a theological
marked the Golden Jubilee of Queen
and spiritual perspective. It also featured
Elizabeth II, gaining an average share in the
documentaries about contemporary and
mainland capitals of 23.0%, compared with
historical events and screened a series,
the 2001 average for the timeslot of 13.5%.
Bad Behaviour, exploring how and why
Concerts, Proms at the Palace and Party
Australians break the law.
from the Palace were also shown.
Factual – Indigenous
Primary and secondary schools programming
Weekly magazine program Message Stick
continued, providing resources across key
continued, with features, interviews, archival
learning areas. Behind the News, a topical
footage and contemporary stories from around
program for upper primary, continued to
Australia about Aboriginal and Torres Strait
attract a strong audience of around 1.3 million
Islander lifestyles, perspectives and
students per week. Programs designed to
support Australian school curriculum included
The Yeperenye Federation Festival featured Our History for middle primary; Music Moves,
the largest corroboree ever held in Australia, an upper primary music series; Atoms of Life,
with thousands of traditional dancers and a secondary science series; and a technology
contemporary performers. series for lower primary. There are online
teachers’ resources to support many of
[ ABC TELEVISION ] ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 55
Production Outside Sydney Science and Technology,
and Melbourne Environment and Natural History
In 2001-02 the overall level of television During 2001-02 ABC broadcast 56 hours
production in centres other than Sydney and on science and technology, Australia’s most
Melbourne increased by 112 hours (6%). The comprehensive television coverage of science
level of News and Current Affairs production and technology issues. There were two new
increased by 181 hours and in other genres programs: the weekly Catalyst, containing
production fell by 69 hours (11.6%). In Australian, international stories about scientific
addition to producing programs commissioned breakthroughs and issues; and Health
by television, centres other than Sydney and Dimensions, covering all aspects of health
Melbourne produced a substantial number of and medicine.
segments for series, such as Catalyst and
Natural history and environmental issues
Dimensions, made in Sydney and Melbourne.
continued to be featured in a range of
Year of the Outback commissioned and acquired programs.
An ABC Natural History production,
ABC Television has commissioned two series
Island Life, exploring the flora and fauna
as part of the 2002 Year of the Outback. Big
of six of Australia’s most remarkable islands,
Country Revisited returns to the people and
won six international awards.
places featured in stories shot in the original
series in 1970’s and 1980’s. Outback Upfront Sport
will explore the outback experience in Western
The range of sports broadcast included
Australian. This initiative with Western
women’s basketball, netball, bowls, hockey,
Australia’s ScreenWest and the Film and
tennis, international netball matches and the
Television Institute is being produced in Perth.
Hopman Cup. In total, 150 hours of sport
Australia Talks, was a series of live discussions were broadcast nationally in addition to local
from around Australia giving people living State and Territory sport, giving a total output
outside the major metropolitan cities the of 650 hours of sports programming.
opportunity to express points of view on
ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 56 [ ABC TELEVISION ]
Digital multichannel services Fly is currently broadcast as a companion
service to ABC Kids from 6pm until 6am daily.
In 2001-02 the ABC launched Australia’s first
A weekly two-hour program called Saturday
new digital services, ABC Kids and Fly.
Morning Fly, with segments drawn from Fly
ABC Kids was launched in August 2001, channel’s productions, is also broadcast
extending the ABC’s continuing commitment on the main ABC channel each week.
to children’s broadcasting. ABC Kids offers
entertaining, engaging and commercial free
programming from 6am until 6pm daily.
Programming is divided into age zones for
children from pre-school age until early teens
with a strong mix of local and overseas
programming including Playschool, Bob
The Builder, Bananas in Panamas, Tracey
McBean, Old Tom, and The Saddle Club.
The children’s digital channel is run in
conjunction with programming on the main
television service. ABC Kids has a common
programming philosophy across the ABC’s
analog and digital services. The digital channel Digital Youth Channel Fly.
enables the ABC to offer high quality children’s
programming across the day. To date the available audience for digital
transmission is small. However, the services
The digital youth channel Fly was launched
are retransmitted by Austar regional satellite
in November. It offers information, music,
television platform and Optus cable platform.
animation and entertainment for a teenage
and youth audience. Fly is an innovative
service made by young Australian producers
and animators using new consumer DVD and
PC technology to provide information and
lifestyle content for young people. It deals
with technology, environment, fashion,
music, work, careers, school, health and
relationships, with high levels of animation
using the work of emerging artists from
[ ABC TELEVISION ] ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 57