Australian Drama Spend Reaches New High


According to Screen Australia’s annual Drama Report, expenditure on drama production in Australia has exceeded A$1.17 billion ($807.3 million), made up of a record A$768 million ($530 million) spend on Aussie stories, including official co-productions.

The expenditure on Australian titles was the highest in the report’s 29-year history, driven by an all-time record spend on Australian television and a five-year high spend on Australian features. The 2018-19 record expenditure on Australian titles included 37 TV dramas—such as The Hunting, Five Bedrooms and Total Control—and their combined spend was A$334 million ($231 million), up 13 percent on last year and above the five-year average. Spend on Australian feature films was up 15 percent on last year to A$299 million ($206 million).

Also, 15 Australian children’s television programs went into production with A$95 million ($66 million) spent. This is the highest spend on children’s drama since 2008-09 and a 95-percent increase on last year.

Meanwhile, 28 Australian online drama titles, with durations of half an hour or more went into production (up from 21 in 2017/18), collectively spending A$40 million ($28 million).

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said, “Australia has a successful film and television industry that is undertaking significant business in the production of both local and foreign drama content. These excellent results are no accident and are a reflection on the talent of our local film and television industry, the appeal of Australian filming locations, the Australian Government incentives available, state government support and direct funding from Screen Australia. The value of the Drama Report is that it now builds on 29 years of data, giving the Government and industry excellent insight into the health and trends of screen production in Australia.”

Michael Brealey, chief operating officer of Screen Australia, said, “To have 65 percent of total expenditure driven by our homegrown stories is remarkable and illustrates the immense demand for Australian content.

“It’s fantastic to see titles showcasing the diversity of landscapes and the depth of talent from around the country. In the past 12 months, H is for Happiness filmed in Western Australia’s Great Southern region, The Gloaming in Tasmania, Robbie Hood in Alice Springs, The Dry in regional Victoria, Stateless in Adelaide, Total Control in Canberra and Winton in Queensland, not to mention a second series of fan-favorite Bluey being created in Brisbane.”

The Drama Report measures the health of the Australian screen industry by detailing the production of local and foreign feature films, television and online programs plus PDV (post, digital and visual effects) activity. “Drama” refers to scripted narratives of any genre and the report tracks productions from the commencement of principal photography, with some titles yet to be released. PDV is reported using two different methods.