Making Australian Television in the 21st Century

This project significantly expands knowledge of Australian television production and circulation, the consequences of its policy frameworks, and the evolution of the distribution and financing models of Australian screen media industries in a multi-channel, multinational, streaming age. Its systematic assessment of the current conditions of television’s transformation focuses on Australian drama because it is seen as particularly effective in offering Australian viewers – including children – familiar characters and culture-building stories.

Drama has historically been a key site for representing ‘Australia’ to audiences domestically and abroad, but has been susceptible to market failure in Australia’s small, highly commercialised television market. As such it has been the focus of the most sustained government policy attention and funding support, including content quotas on commercial linear broadcasters. But the shifts in the competitive environment have adjusted the dynamics of drama production, with uncertain implications that this project will investigate. Children’s and adult drama have, since the mid-2000s, become increasingly important to both national public service broadcasters and international satellite brands. They are also key areas of focus for subscriber-funded streaming services with generous content budgets, but it is unclear whether those funds will support dramas recognisably Australian.

DMRC research program

This project contributes to the research within the following DMRC research program:

Transforming Media Industries

Project team


Project funding

  • ARC Discovery Project (2020-2024)