Interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Tim-Brooke Hunt

By AMRITA VALECHA | 19 January, 2010 - 14:38

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC", is Australia's national public broadcaster. With an annual budget of Australian $ 1.13 billion, the corporation provides television, radio, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as overseas through the Australia Network and Radio Australia.

Within Australia, the ABC operates three Television channels. ABC1 is the Corporation's original television service, which receives the bulk of funding for television and broadcasts first-run comedy, drama, documentaries, news and current affairs.

ABC's first digital channel (ABC2) was launched in 2005, targeting a younger adult audience after 6pm and providing programming for pre-school children during the day. A new digital channel for school-age children (ABC3) was launched in December 2009, with a budget of $67 million over 3 years. Plans for a further digital channel, ABC4 were recently announced, with a focus on Business, Politics and News.

Speaking to AnimationXpress Asia Pacific's Amrita Valecha, Tim-Brooke Hunt Executive Head of Children's Content for Australia's ABC Television, shared about the programming mix at ABC, content startegy followed, its online prsence and more.

Could you tell us the difference between ABC 1, 2 and 3 for Australian children?
ABC's main analogue channel, ABC1, is available in virtually all Australian homes. It offers 8 hours per day of children's programs. Our digital channels are currently available in approximately 50% of homes, but this figure is increasing steadily as Australia approaches digital switch-over in 2013. Digital channel ABC2 targets kids aged up to 6 years from 9am to 6pm daily, and our new digital channel ABC3 targets school-age kids aged 6 to 15 years, broadcasting from 6am to 9pm daily.

What is the programming mix like when it comes to the ratio of animation content v/s live action?
Our pre-school audience loves animation and approx two-thirds of the programming on ABC2 is animation. Favorite animated shows for this audience include Charlie & Lola, Chuggington, Postman Pat, Roary the Racing Car, Timmy Time, and Bottle Top Bill.

However as Australian kids reach school age, they start to enjoy a much broader range of programs including live action drama, reality shows and documentaries. As a result, animation represents approximately one-third of the programming on ABC3. Successful shows for this age group include action-adventure series like Wolverine and Iron Man, and comedy series like Total Drama Island.

What is the ratio of Local v/s International content?
Currently, 40% of ABC3 content is Australian, and we intend Australian content to exceed 50% within two years on this channel. On ABC2, Australian Content for pre-school kids is closer to 30%.
Information for the benefit of distributors and producers about dealing with ABC Children's TV can be found at: