Screen Australia has released a new research which looks at how children engage with screen content and the challenges involved in financing, producing and scheduling children’s programmes. The report, Child’s Play: Issues in Australian Children’s Television 2013, revealed that children prefer content that was made specifically for them. It notes that while children are commonly co-viewing general-audience programmes with their families, they have a clear preference for children’s programmes when they have control of the remote. The report also concludes that the children surveyed valued Australian content, and are more highly engaged when they are watching drama programs over other types of programs.
In addition, the research revealed that their favourite channels are the ABC’s dedicated children’s channels. Almost all of those who had a preference preferred Australian programmes over foreign ones. Home & Away, Neighbours and Dance Academy were all in the top 10 favourite dramas for older children (with Home & Away at number two after Modern Family) with the children’s entire top five favourite non-dramas being Australian, led by Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, X-Factor and Good Game. The report also revealed that scheduling continues to be key to the broadcast success of programmes.
Screen Australia’s Chief Executive, Ruth Harley, said, “This research clearly demonstrates that there’s an appetite for quality children’s television content. Programmes made specifically for children are different from material produced for a family audience because they deal with stories and issues of interest to kids in appropriate ways. The delivery of quality Australian children’s programming is essential to the cultural well-being of young Australians, so that they have the opportunity to see Australia’s identity, character and cultural diversity reflected back to them.”