Screen Aus: Producer Offset has boosted production since 2007
The Producer Offset has underpinned a surge in Australian screen production and equity retention since it was introduced five years ago, according to a Screen Australia survey.
The national screen agency, which administers the tax rebate, said Australian narrative production had increased by 70 per cent for feature films and 36 per cent for television drama since the Offset began in 2007. It has also underpinned a seven-fold increase of producers retaining more than 25 per cent equity share in their films. Screen Australia said that before the Offset, only 12 per cent of films provided that level of equity, compared to 85 per cent of films made with the Producer Offset.
The Offset returns 20 per cent of qualifying television and documentary production expenditure and 40 per cent for feature films, as well providing producers with a commensurate equity position. It was introduced to create a more sustainable production industry and provide more commercial incentives for producers.
Screen Australia chief executive Ruth Harley told the SPAA 2012 conference that the Offset is giving producers a greater stake in the success of their projects.
"It’s improved the producer’s equity share in their projects which means a greater share of potential revenue that can be used to build their business and develop subsequent projects. It also gives producers some leverage – they can trade part of the equity to bring investors or talent on board.”
The survey also found that average annual drama expenditure increased by 49 per cent in the five years since the Producer Offset was introduced, compared to the previous five years, and by 53 per cent for documentaries. In total, it has provided over $500 million in government support to the industry across television drama, documentaries and features.
“Although the global financial crisis and surge of the Australian dollar were not factored into the plans for the Offset, it has still provided great benefit to the screen production industry,” Harley said. “The Offset could be considered the stimulus package that we didn’t know we needed. What we have also found is that in the case of TV drama, the Offset has helped to support high-budget, high production-value content that has performed well in Australia and overseas. The Offset is providing relief in raising budgets at a time when international finance is scarce, and, when it is available, has diminished value due to the high Australian dollar.”
Screen Australia’s survey of the Producer Offset was conducted through extensive interviews with 28 production companies, whose projects accounted for over 300 Offset projects. The full report can be found at http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/about_us/pub_offsetreport.aspx.