The Australian Film Commission (AFC) today released the report of its annual Drama Production Survey, revealing an increase in both feature production and TV drama after last year's below-average result. For the first time, the AFC also surveyed companies providing post-production, digital production and visual effects (PDV) services in Australia, so the report includes PDV activity by foreign productions even if they did not shoot here.
In 2006/07 the production slate (defined as projects which started shooting during the year) comprised 33 features and 645 hours of TV drama as well as 16 foreign PDV-only projects. The value of production activity, as measured by the portion of budgets spent in Australia, totalled $625 million, 68 per cent up on last year.
After last year's very low result for foreign feature production, with expenditure in Australia at just $27 million, the value of the 2006/07 foreign feature slate rose to $111 million, including $9 million in PDV-only.
Australian feature activity was slightly down on last year in terms of number of productions - 24 of this year's feature films were Australian, compared to 29 last year - but total budgets were substantially higher at $218 million, more than double last year's $100 million, and well above the five-year average of $130 million. The increase was largely due to the high-budget local feature Australia. There were also three features made as official co-productions this year with $19 million of their budgets allocated to expenditure in Australia, a similar result to last year.
In TV drama, the 2006/07 Australian and co-production TV drama slate comprised 615 hours, up from 583 last year and close to the five-year average of 623 hours. Expenditure in Australia also increased to $253 million, up on last year's $205 million and above the five-year average of $217 million. Australian series/serials and mini-series accounted for most of the increase. Foreign TV drama spent $29 million in Australia, up slightly on last year's $23 million.
"The return to stronger levels of production activity is good news, particularly in Australian TV drama," said AFC Chief Executive Chris Fitchett. "And the new data we are now gathering from PDV companies provides an excellent foundation for monitoring this very significant area of the Australian industry."
The AFC's analysis of post, digital and visual effects activity for the past two years shows that income to PDV companies from work on features and TV drama totalled $142 million in 2005/06 and $129 million in 2006/07. This represents approximately 30 per cent of total production expenditure during that period by features and TV drama projects in Australia. Australian productions accounted for the majority (73 per cent) of this work ($193 million) over the two years.
The survey can be viewed online at www.afc.gov.au/nps/