The ABC has launched a $5 million development fund to provide support to independent Australian producers and safeguard local content and creativity during these unprecedented times.
The ABC’s Fresh Start Fund will support the sustainability and growth of Australia’s production industry during the COVID-19 shutdown and supercharge the development of new Australian content for audiences across multiple genres, including drama, comedy, children’s, factual, music and the arts.
The ABC is already working closely with production companies on current projects that have been delayed or suspended due to COVID-19, to find supportive solutions where possible. The ABC is being flexible around delivery and has varied cash flows as appropriate on a title-by-title basis to help protect jobs in the independent sector.
The public broadcaster is also acquiring additional Australian content for broadcast on ABC TV and iview to keep the nation informed, educated and entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spanning five streams, detailed below, the ABC’s Fresh Start Fund recognises the essential role played by independent producers in helping the ABC deliver Australian stories for audiences, across all its platforms and services. The fund also supports emerging Australian talent and creatives for the Australian market, to ensure the viable future of the local production industry.
Michael Carrington, ABC director of entertainment & specialist content, said the fund will develop original new content for potential broadcast on ABC channels and online platforms. “As Australia’s biggest backer of local content, the ABC will provide whatever help possible within our means to shore up the viability of independent producers, who are struggling during this incredibly disruptive time,” he said.
“The Fresh Start Fund will ramp up the development of original and outstanding Australian content to keep our production sector afloat during the COVID-19 restrictions. In times like this we all need to pull together and the ABC remains open for business in supporting Australian talent and stories.”
The funds to support this initiative have been identified by the ABC as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on normal business operations. These business restrictions have given the ABC the opportunity to reprioritise expenditure to support Australia’s production sector at a critical time.
ABC FRESH START FUND STREAMS
1. Enhanced Development & Production Fund
Supports Australian production companies that have worked with the ABC or gained some industry recognition, across two areas:
A. Existing productions: Supercharging development assistance to kickstart productions impacted by COVID-19 after the lifting of restrictions.
B. New concepts: Supporting new stories in any genre about Australian culture and communities, particularly in new formats.
2. Innovation Fund
Supports individual Australian creatives who may not have worked with the ABC previously. The Innovation Fund backs Australian talent with bold and innovative content ideas across multiple genres aimed at audiences under 55.
3. Arts Digital Fund
Supports Australian creatives and production companies with innovative ideas for new arts content, particularly documentary storytelling.
4. Children’s Content Fund
Supports excellence in children’s content across two areas:
A: Scripted/Factual: Supporting production companies with current animation or live-action development or productions.
B: Music: Commissioning new pieces of children’s music from talented and prolific Australian musicians for ABC Kids listen.
5. Australian Music
Supports independent Australian artists and musicians across all ABC music networks, including:
A: New music: Commissioning new works for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz.
B: Music scholarships: Supporting diverse emerging artists across multiple genres and themes, driven by triple j and triple j Unearthed.
Top photo: ABC Kids