Spend on Australian Drama Productions Down 4 Percent


Screen Australia’s 33rd annual Drama Report has revealed A$2.34 billion ($1.5 billion) spent across 213 titles in 2022-23, down 4 percent on last year’s record expenditure.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “We’re proud to report the second highest drama spend ever in Australia. It has been remarkable witnessing the unprecedented surge in production in Australia in recent years and the 2022-23 Drama Report highlights another stellar year for drama production in Australia.”

Australian titles made up A$1.13 billion ($726 million) of total spend. Spend by Australian subscription TV and SVOD has decreased this year, but growth in free-to-air TV and BVOD helped to offset those declines.

For Australian general TV and VOD, the A$680 million ($435 million) of expenditure in 2022-23 was up slightly (2 percent) on last year’s result. This category is made up of three subcategories: Australian general free-to-air TV and BVOD drama, Australian general subscription TV and SVOD and Australian general AVOD, TVOD and other online.

Australian general FTA TV and BVOD expenditure increased by 26 percent in 2022-23. This growth was driven by an uptick in the number of titles (up by 21 percent), hours (up by 16 percent) and average cost-per-hour (up by 9 percent).

In 2022-23, spend on Australian general subscription TV and SVOD drama saw an 11 percent decline from the record high of the previous year, however it remains the largest category of spend within Australian TV and VOD. The year saw a higher concentration of big-budget titles than previous years, with seven out of 21 SVOD titles having budgets in excess of A$20 million ($13 million), in contrast to eight out of 30 titles in 2021-22.

Australian general AVOD, TVOD and other online drama experienced significant growth across most key indicators. Spend increased by 74 percent since 2021-22—from A$3 million ($1.9 million) to A$5 million ($3.2 million)—increasing to 61 percent above the five-year average. This was driven by a doubling of the number of titles (12 to 24) and an almost tripling of hours produced (11 to 29).

Spend on children’s drama across TV and VOD platforms also increased from last year, but has not returned to previous highs. Australian children’s TV and VOD expenditure reached A$81 million ($52 million) compared to A$67 million ($43 million) in 2021-22 and a five-year average of A$74 million ($47 million).

The record total foreign spend—A$1.22 billion ($781 million)—in 2022-23 was driven largely by record expenditure from foreign titles shooting in Australia. These foreign shoot titles spent A$809 million ($517 million), an all-time record and 83 percent above the previous year.

Mason commented, “This year’s Drama Report showcases the dynamic landscape of drama, with significant expenditure coming from a number of different categories. A record Australian PDV spend and continued spend from subscription TV and SVOD titles, such as the upcoming Heartbreak High series two, High Country and Prosper, and an increase in Australian FTA TV and BVOD spend, coming from titles such as Total Control series three, RFDS series two and While the Men are Away have helped to deliver a fantastic result. We have also seen TV and VOD titles such as Neighbours exploring new hybrid distribution models, releasing on both FTA and SVOD platforms in a short window.”