ABC launches Australian Features documentary strand

'The Dark Emu Story'

The ABC used yesterday’s opening night of the Australian International Documentary Conference to launch a new premium documentary strand.

Available through ABC iview, Australian Features will showcase a cross-section of the country’s contemporary factual storytelling, with the broadcaster inviting submissions to commissioning editors and development executives from today. It has indicated it is looking for a broad range of genres and formats, including true-crime and investigations, observational access, extraordinary stories of everyday Australians, unknown stories of well-known Australians, and first-person unfolding narratives.

ABC head of factual Susie Jones said Australian Features aimed to create a world-class strand of contemporary documentaries that spoke to a broad audience.

“In a streaming era, feature documentaries are more important than ever, and audiences consistently gravitate towards them,” she said.

“Australian documentaries are world-class and have the ability to entertain, enlighten, move, and inspire. We want ABC iview to be the premier destination for the very best Australian documentaries.”

The ABC reports it commissioned more than $24 million in documentary and factual content last year, and has commissioned on average over 100 hours of documentary and factual content annually since 2020, except for the COVID-impacted 2020/21 financial year.

Jones expected documentaries shown through the new strand to have varied appeal and garner critical acclaim.

“We’re very open to pitches for this strand, so be ambitious and present us with your biggest and best idea,” she said.

”​The ABC has a strong history of entertaining and educating audiences with distinctive Australian content driven by bold storytelling, with some recent standouts including Harley and Katya, Freeman, The Dark Emu Story, Firestarter, and Folau in recent years.”