Australia boasts record-breaking spend on scripted production

The spike was driven by a record spend on Australian theatrical features; and spend on the country's subscription TV and SVOD

By Priyanca Rajput 10 Nov 2022

Australia boasts record-breaking spend on scripted production
True Colours. Credit: SBS

Screen Australia’s 32nd annual Drama Report shows a record-breaking high on scripted screen production spend of $2.29bn — comprising optimal spend on Australian titles of $1.51bn, as well as $777m spent on foreign productions.

Overall, $2.29bn was spent across 162 drama screen productions that started production or post-production in Australia in 2021/22, compared to $1.94bn spent across 163 productions in 2020/21. The spike was driven by a record spend on Australian theatrical features ($786m up from $495m last year), and a record spend on Australian subscription TV and Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD). Spend on Free-to-air (FTA) TV and Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD) drama, and children’s drama across TV and VOD platforms also increased from last year, but has not returned to previous highs in either category.

Spend on foreign Post, Digital and Visual effects work (PDV) in Australia reached a new record of $335m, and spend on foreign titles that filmed in the country plunged from its record high last year, but remains above the 5-year average.

Minister for the arts, The Hon Tony Burke MP said, “This is a great result and testament to the strength of our local screen industry. It shows the importance of the creative sector and the appetite for Australian drama. It’s fantastic to see Australian stories being told here at home and to global audiences.”

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “Hitting well over the $2 billion mark is an incredible milestone for our sector, and it’s truly a bumper year for Australian scripted content - to have local productions make up 66% of this spend is extraordinary. Distinctly Australian stories continue to captivate audiences here and overseas, with Heartbreak High reaching the top 10 on international Netflix charts, and shows from Bluey to Bump taking the world by storm.”

“This is a unique year for feature film, with several high-budget Australian projects starting production including Dr George Miller’s Furiosa which are bringing significant economic and creative benefits. However the number of Australian films that went into production has decreased. It’s no secret that the content landscape across film, television and online has changed and viewing habits are continually evolving. This is most evident in the reduction in films being produced for theatrical release, the shift in drama spend from television to online platforms, and the increasing spend on premium drama.”

“While it’s a crowded market the appetite for local content remains, and it’s heartening to see increased Australian projects produced for streaming platforms in 2021/22. Screen Australia is committed to supporting a range of stories for big and small screens, from The Dry’s sequel Force of Nature, to mystery series True Colours featuring Arrernte languages, to the third and final season of YouTube mega-hit Meta Runner.”

“While foreign production spend has dipped from last year’s record year, it’s still looking healthy against the 5-year average. Projects like Ticket to Paradise offer important opportunities for Australian creatives to cut their teeth on big international productions and we have more to look forward to next year with the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes and the sequel to Godzilla Vs Kong. Australia has also made a name for itself in PDV, with projects including The Flash and The Marvels undertaking work here, and we’re thrilled to see this part of the sector growing to record highs.”

“Our focus now is to work together with the industry to address gaps in skills and capacity that have come as a result of the production boom, to ensure we are in the best position to keep up the pace and further boost the potential of Australian stories and storytellers,” Mason concluded.

New South Wales also set a new record of spend in the state, with over $1bn and 45% of the national share, and Victoria also achieved a record high with $556m (24% of the national share).


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