Report Sees ‘Fertile Ground’ for Australian-Asian Content Partnerships


SYDNEY: The next five years will provide a host of opportunities for Australian producers to collaborate with their counterparts in China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and other Asian markets, according to a new study released by Screen Australia, the government body that provides support for the country's content sector.

According to the study, Common Ground: Opportunities for Australian Screen Partnerships in Asia, content exports from Australia to Asian markets generated about A$50 million per year for the past three years, representing about 25 percent of all Australian content exports. The study was conducted with PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia.

China, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore offer the most opportunity for now, but the report sees potential in increasing alliances with India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. Some 63 percent of Australian producers surveyed said they had done business with China over the past five years, followed by 49 percent for Singapore and 34 percent for India.

In terms of the types of collaborations sought, 60 percent of respondents said they were considering an Asian market for co-financing, while 58 percent were looking at co-pro opportunities. In addition, 52 percent are working on pre-sales or sales to the Asian markets covered in the report.

“Now is the time for the Australian screen industries to strengthen ties, formalize co-production arrangements and develop sound knowledge of working with our partners in Asia," said Ruth Harley, Screen Australia's chief executive. "An overwhelming theme that emerged in the research was the importance of genuine collaboration that will underpin all success, and the good news is that our counterparts across Asia consider Australians to be good at collaborating. Our attractiveness as a potential partner increases further once our professionalism and strong track record are considered. These attributes have been noticed and position Australian screen industry professionals well to build new partnerships in the Asian region."

She added, “The growing opportunities and changing nature of collaboration between the Australian screen industry and Asia are being driven not only by developments in the region’s screen industries, but also the increasing confidence and diversity of our own screen production industry. Australia’s many relationships with Asia, including through our own diverse population, are increasingly being reflected on our screens. For the Australian screen production industry to remain relevant, it needs to be reflective of the contemporary world and Australia’s place in it. Creative collaborations with Asia not only assist us to understand our region, they enrich our understanding of ourselves. We are very excited about the new opportunities afforded by engaging with the energy and dynamism of our region and look forward to extending our relationships with the rapidly growing screen industries in Asia."

Challenges cited by producers in the survey included difficulties establishing relationships, lack of financial resources, suitability of Australian content to Asia's various markets and the lack of formal co-pro treaties in many Asian countries. Other issues producers are facing include piracy concerns and discrepancies in budget levels and license fees across the region.