Boreham lauds producer offset and drama investment
Screen Australia chairman Glen Boreham delivered a state-of-the-industry report today, putting a positive spin on the success of the producer offset and the agency’s investment in drama.
Giving the opening address at today’s Jobs, Dollars, Hearts and Minds conference, Boreham said more than $1 billion had been injected into the screen industry by direct and indirect funding over the past five years.
However that funding looks less impressive when set against the modest returns from international film sales, according to figures Boreham quoted.
Since the producer offset was introduced in July 2007, more than 600 final certificates had been issued, resulting in more than $730 million being paid to production companies and triggering more than $3 billion in production budgets, the vast majority spent in Australia.
In addition to the offset, since its foundation Screen Australia has directly invested more than $300 million in funding Australian content. In the past five years he said the box office average for Australian films had increased by 64%, a misleading statistic when set against local films' lowly average of about 4% of the total B.O.
Boreham was keen to stress Australian films have performed well on the international festival circuit, with 50 films selected to screen from 2008-2012. But he conceded that exposure had resulted in just $97 million worth of international sales in that period, “despite a challenging international marketplace.””
Boreham boasted about the string of successful Australian TV dramas including Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War and House Husbands and the international acclaim and commercial success for productions such as The Slap, Rake, and Wilfred.
He noted Seven’s A Place to Call Home and the ABC’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries achieved audiences of more than 2 million and Foxtel’s Wentworth attracted a cumulative national audience of over 630,000 across the week, ranking as the most watched Australian drama series in the history of Australian subscription TV.
He neglected to say all these shows were commissioned by Australian broadcasters and that Screen Australia is merely an investor without any creative input.
He did not refer to the search for a new CEO to run Screen Australia but noted the looming federal election and said, “We are in the midst of technological, social and regulatory changes that will shape the future of what we watch, how we watch it, and how we engage with screen content."