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ABS INDUSTRY UPDATE SHOWS AN INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT FOR INDEPENDENT SCREEN PRODUCTION

Today, our CEO Matthew Deaner noted the release of the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s report Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia, 2015-16.

“The ABS report, Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia, 2015-16 shows that compared to the previous report in 2011-12, the industry is growing, but growth is slow and not uniform, particularly for the independent production sector.”

“This report provides further evidence that the current environment for independent producers is challenging. Comparing 2011-12 to 2015-16, there has been negligible growth of five per cent in total income for production businesses from $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion. Production income is down six per cent over the same period to $1.6 billion. Employment is up 9 per cent to over 17,000 and labour costs are up signficiantly at 14 percent. I know labour costs are a particular concern to the ongoing viability of some production companies.”

On the results for commercial television broadcasters, Mr Deaner said:

“The significant decrease in total income for the commercial television broadcasters tells us what we already know – that they are under pressure. This pressure is felt down the value chain, these broadcasters reduced their drama and documentary hours by over 20 per cent from 2011-12.

Compounding this situation for the independent production sector is greater levels of in-house production who produced 55 per cent in house, compared to 44 per cent in 2011-12. I fear that if this trend continues and the Government does not address serious structural issues in the television market, it will come to be dominated by a handful of vertically-integrated bohemoths and no independent production sector.”

On the growth in subscription broadcasters and channel providers, Mr Deaner said:

“I am encouraged by the significant growth in subscription broadcasters and channel providers, such as Netflix. This shows the market is evolving and content regulation must be evolved similarly to capture these new market entrants, as is being done in Europe.”

Mr Deaner continued:

“This patchy growth for the independent production sector shows there are industry-wide issues that need addressing urgently. To get the best out of the independent production sector that last year produced award winning films like Lion and television like Cleverman, we need to remove barriers to growth so we can better compete in the international market for content.

These barriers include uncompetitive offsets, limited Government measures to greater engage in the global marketplace, regulatory and structural uncertainty for small businesses in a domestic market dominated by a handfull of big broadcasters, content regulation that needs evolution and continual cuts to screen agencies and public broadcasters.

Screen Producers Australia has provided options to the Government to remove these barriers. In the context of the Parliamentary Inquiry and the Content Review, we look forward to the Government’s consideration of these options.”


Media inquiries:
 
James Cheatley
james.cheatley@screenproducers.org.au
0419 482 680

Download the release.

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