The 1990s have seen a significant expansion of choice for consumers of film, television and other screen-based entertainment, according to a new book from the Australian Film Commission, and this expansion is set to continue.
Get the Picture: An Essential Guide to Australian Film, Television, Video and New Media, was launched today by AFC Chief Executive Cathy Robinson. It features an amazing range of facts. Here's a sample:
In 1995, 72 per cent of people aged 35-49 had been to the cinema in the previous 12 months, compared to only 50 per cent in 1984.
There were 865,000 CD-ROM drives installed in Australia in 1995; 24 per cent of homes had games consoles, used for an average of 30 minutes per day.
Around 83 per cent of homes have at least one VCR; 16 per cent have two or more.
Australia has produced more than 570 feature films since 1970: an average of 14 per year during the 70s; 30 per year during the 80s; and 25 per year in the first half of the 90s.
As of May 1996, the all-time top five films in Australia were Crocodile Dundee, Babe, Jurassic Park, E.T. and Forrest Gump.
Total gross Australian box office in 1995 was $502 million - representing nearly 70 million admissions. This was the eighth consecutive year of box office growth.
Royalty income from exports of film, TV and video product increased by nearly 60 per cent between 1989/90 and 1994/95; television program exports doubled.
Australia has had at least one film selected for the Cannes Film Festival for 18 of the past 20 years. We received 10 Academy Award nominations in 1995 - the most on record.
144 Australian shorts screened at overseas festivals in 1994, an increase of 124 per cent from 1993.
"Good information is vitally important if our audiovisual industries are to continue to grow and prosper," said Cathy Robinson. "And Get the Picture is indispensable because it gathers so much high-quality data into a single source."
UK magazine Screen Digest said of a previous edition: [Get the Picture] has set the standard ...in providing information...in depth, range, insight and presentation of material.' The book has also been called 'an invaluable research tool', 'an invaluable reference' and 'an amazing range of facts, much of which is unavailable anywhere else'. The current edition maintains this high standard and has several new features.
Access to the information has been improved, with new highlights pages at the beginning of each section and an expanded index. There's new data in several areas: for example, on the production industry, cinema exhibition, cinema audiences, and the use of information technology by Australians.
A section on new media is included for the first time, featuring an overview from commentator Philip Dutchak as well as data on everything from patterns of home computer use and the penetration of modems and CD-ROM drives, to numbers of Internet service providers, computer games sales and snapshots of multimedia content production in Australia.
Other writers include Sandy George, who reflects on the mid-1990s as a time of choice and change for Australia's audiovisual industries, Bob Peters on the TV industry, Garry Maddox on the video industry, Andrew Urban on commercial success, Mervyn Smythe on the production of film and TV advertising, and Jock Given on 'cultural trade'.
Get the Picture, edited by Rosemary Curtis and Cathy Gray, Australian Film Commission, 1996, 320 pp, $29.95