They are touted as the industry’s top awards, but the AACTA Awards still trail the much-maligned Logie Awards in the eyes of the general public.
Award nights rarely draw a big viewing crowd on Australian TV, but they are important statements from the broadcasters who get behind them. You don’t do them for ratings, you do them to support the industry. And you do it to promote your network brands, as Seven did comprehensively last night.
That said, the mid-week event in summer non-ratings, drew an average of 416,000 viewers. That’s well down on the Logies at 1.12m viewers on a Sunday in May (the recent ARIAs averaged 586,000 viewers).
The industry still regards the AACTAs with considerable gravitas, given it is peer-voted not driven by popularity votes, but the numbers suggest there is still a way to go for public care-factor if it wants to be considered our Oscars.
Ironically, that sausage protest may have actually given the event “cut through” it could never drum up….
Nevertheless, somewhat bleary-eyed execs were talking up the wins today, and nobody can blame them for that.
Richard Finlayson, ABC Director of Television, said: “The AACTA Awards are Australia’s highest industry honour and the ABC’s success is testament to the rich and diverse range of content we offer our audience. The network congratulates both nominees and winners of this year.
“These awards reinforce the importance of ABC’s role in commissioning quality Australian stories and I’m happy to say that we are confident 2017’s programming slate is every bit as great!”
Network TEN Chief Programming Officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “It is a wonderful accolade that in its eighth season, MasterChef Australia is the recipient of the AACTA Award for the Best Reality Television Series.
“The show is the work of a large number of talented and passionate people. I would like to congratulate our amazing judges and mentors Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Shannon Bennett – who bring the show to life – the Network Ten team led by Executive Producer Rick Maier and our partners at Endemol Shine Australia, led by Peter Newman and Marty Benson.”
ASTRA chief executive Andrew Maiden said, “Subscription television prides itself on producing high quality, bold and creative dramas.
“The Kettering Incident and Wentworth have each won multiple awards, reinforcing our belief that Australian audiences love watching local stories told well.
“The subscription television industry now invests around $900 million annually in production across Australia, so it’s extremely gratifying to see our output recognised so prominently at the country’s most prestigious screen awards,” he said.
Murray Shaw, Executive Producer for Football at FOX Sports, who picked up the ‘Best Live Event Production’ in subscription television award along with Geoff Bullock, said: “It’s no secret that football has long been on the ascendancy in Australia, but what this award proves is that it also offers one of the best live sports viewing experiences for audiences at home. FOX Sports has been committed to growing football in Australia since the A-League’s inception and it’s great to see the industry join audiences at home in recognising just how much it brings to the live TV landscape in Australia.”
Finally Screen Australia CEO, Graeme Mason said, “Screen Australia would like to offer our congratulations not only to this year’s AACTA Award recipients but to all nominees for their outstanding contributions to the Australian screen sector. Special mention must go to the team behind Hacksaw Ridge for their remarkable strike rate of nine awards, and the makers of The Daughter who picked up three awards. These wins demonstrate the diversity of scale, story and film product Australia can produce.
“We know it’s been a boom year for Australian television and that we’re making more premium content than ever, so I’m thrilled to see The Kettering Incident and Molly being so highly awarded. I’m particularly proud of the documentaries and short films which are often the unsung heroes, and I wish the filmmakers of Hanson: Please Explain, Highly Strung, Monsieur Mayonnaise, Dream Baby and Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ a hearty congratulations.
“As our recent milestone study Screen Currency confirmed, Australians want to see their own stories on screen and the economic and cultural contribution of our screen sector should be a source of pride for the whole industry.”