Only two of Australia's 17 pay-TV drama channels complied with voluntary requirements to spend 10% of their annual programming budget on local drama in 1998-99, according to the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).

The only two that did comply were The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, which are both aimed at children.

The offending channels will not be penalised if they meet the requirement in the 12 months to June 30, 2000, which should be known by the end of the year. Legislation stipulates they will have to make up the spend in the following year, or face suspension or cancellation of their pay-TV licence, or even prosecution in the courts.

The ABA reports that the total programme spend of the 16 channels was nearly $70m (A$120m) but only $3.7m (A$6.3m), or 5.34% was spent on local fare. No information was provided by Hallmark. This is the fourth year in succession that the channels, as a group, have not complied.