Film and video production up, post plummets

18 June, 2013 by Don Groves

Australian film and video production revenues reached $2.2 billion while the post sector plummeted to $330 million last year.

Out of the combined revenues of $2.5 billion, those businesses’ total operating profit before tax was just $178 million.


Those are the headline numbers from the first survey of the Australian screen production sector in five years conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The results were released Tuesday at Screen Australia’s Jobs, Dollars, Hearts and Minds conference in Canberra.

The production industry’s revenue was up 38% since the last survey in 2006/07 while total employment in that sector expanded by 23% to 13,414.

The post industry’s turnover was down by 25% on 2006/07 and employment contracted by 21% to 2,346. Nearly $93 million was generated from visual effects work provided to other businesses and nearly $66 million came from animation services.
While the production volume looks healthy, the ABS report shows news and current affairs programs accounted for 36,500 hours of commercial TV programming last year, nearly half the commercial TV content made in Australia.

“Perhaps not coincidentally, news and current affairs programming was also the cheapest programming to produce, with costs averaging about $14,000 per broadcast hour, “ said William Milne, Director of Integrated Collections at the ABS.

"That's considerably less than the production costs of drama, which was well over half a million dollars an hour.”

Screen Australia’s chief operating officer Fiona Cameron said, “This ABS data provides a crucial gauge of the health of the screen production sector following five years of rapid change and development. In the past five years, we’ve seen the introduction of the Producer and PDV Offsets, the formation of Screen Australia, the introduction of the digital multi-channels and the dawning of a new golden age of TV drama.

“The high Australian dollar and a tough global economic climate have also impacted many parts of the industry but the sector as a whole has weathered these changes well.”

For the first time, the digital games sector was included in the industry-wide survey and recorded total income of $89.4 million. Developers produced 245 digital games last year, with the majority – 188- made for mobile or web platforms.

Giving a snapshot of industry profitability, commercial free-to-air broadcasters generated $4.6 billion in revenue and incurred expenses of $3.6 billion.

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers raked in revenues of $4.5 billion but with a hefty expenses bill of $4.1 billion.