Daytime news blocs cheap TV. There's more news content on Australian television than ever before. And figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show why, giving lie to the oft-heard claim that news and current affairs is an expensive product.

The ABS says that during 2011-12 "there were 78,622 commercial broadcast hours for first release television programs. News and current affairs programs accounted for the largest proportion of these hours with 36,471 (or 46.4%)." That compares with very expensive drama and children's programming, which the ABS said had an average per-hour cost of $560,700 and $550,400 respectively. "Light entertainment and variety programs incurred the largest total production costs ($555.4 million)," the ABS said. The cost was around $70,000 an hour.