This fifth edition of Get the Picture gathers together data from a huge range of sources to give the most comprehensive picture of Australia's audiovisual industries.
Get the Picture's analysis of previously unpublished employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals some interesting trends. For example, industry employment grew by more than 50 per cent between 1991 and 1996, with the highest growth rates in Queensland (72 per cent) and South Australia (68 per cent).
Data collated on awards shows that more than 400 domestic and international awards were won by Australian works in both 1996 and 1997. Short films have done particularly well: the number of awards grew for the 10th year in a row, with 1997 figures representing a huge 450 per cent increase over 1988.
Trade figures are also scrutinised. Television program exports have grown much more rapidly than other categories of Australian exports, increasing by more than 230 per cent since 1991-92, compared with around 60 per cent for total exports.
"The data in Get the Picture is extensive", said Maureen Barron, Chair of the Australian Film Commission. "In some cases it goes right back to the 1970s. Combined with the chronology and analysis sections, this makes Get the Picture the essential industry reference and research tool."
Get the Picture covers Australian production and release success, the distribution and exhibition industry, box office and ratings figures, cultural trade, awards, audience demographics and new media. All the information has been completely revised and updated. There is information on animation production in Australia and new figures from the Australian Film Finance Corporation on prices for overseas releases of features, documentaries, mini-series and telemovies.
Get the Picture features a chronology by industry commentator Sandy George which covers July 1996 to June 1998. This period has seen some significant trends and developments emerge, including New Zealand's challenge to the Australian content rules for commercial television, government proposals for new ways of attracting production funding from the private sector, turmoil and then some consolidation in the pay television industry, public floats and global expansion in the cinema industry, the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney, and three more Academy Awards for Australians.
"A lot of the work in the compilation of the 5th edition has involved teasing out 'data confrontation'," said AFC Research Manager Rosemary Curtis. "That means going right into the way data was compiled to see whether it can be compared to other data. Meshing information from varied sources is important if patterns and trends are to emerge both within the industry and across industries to create a national picture."
Other writers include Rachel Dixon on new media, Bob Peters on free-to-air TV and Pip Bulbeck on pay TV, Sandy George on the cinema industry, Garry Maddox on the video industry, Mervyn Smythe on film and TV advertising, and Jock Given on cultural trades.
Get the Picture (5th edn), edited by Rosemary Curtis and Cathy Gray, Australian Film Commission, 1998, 336 pp, $35. Distributed through AFC Publications: ph: (02) 9321 6444; toll free 1800 22 6615.
Additional Facts & Figures
A selection of interesting snippets from the AFC's Get the Picture (5th edition):
Australia has produced 630 feature films since 1970: an average of 14 per year during the 70s; 30 per year during the 80s; and 27 per year so far in the 90s.
The number of cinema screens in Australia has grown from 829 in 1980 to 1422 in 1997. Total seating capacity has remained much the same (378,000 in 1980 and 387,000 in 1997) reflecting the rise of multiplex cinemas. 44 per cent of screens in 1997 were operated by independents, and suburban cinemas took 54 per cent of gross box office.
As of June 1998, the all-time top five films in Australia were Titanic, Crocodile Dundee, Babe, Jurassic Park and E.T.
Royalty income from exports of film, TV and video product has grown by an average of 21 per cent each year between 1993-94 and 1996-97; TV program exports nearly doubled over the period.
The top price paid for US release of an FFC-supported feature from May 1994 to May 1998 was US$2.5 million; the lowest price was US$20,000.
In 1998 around 87 per cent of Australian homes had at least one VCR; 22 per cent had two or more.
43 per cent of homes had a computer in 1998; 48 per cent of these either had Internet access or were planning to get it in the next 12 months.
In February 1998 almost three-quarters of the households which frequently use a computer had a CD-ROM drive; almost half had a modem and 7 per cent had a DVD-ROM drive.