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Documentary budgets

Proportion of Australian documentaries (not including broadcaster-produced titles) by budget range (2015 dollars), 2007/08–2014/15


Next update March 2017

Titles: Proportion of documentary titles in various budget ranges

Over the last eight years, most single documentaries made by independent production companies were produced for less than $500,000 per hour (in 2015 dollars). Over the same period, the proportion of single documentaries made for between $500,000 and $1 million per hour has varied, from a low of 19 per cent in 2008/09 to a high of 33 per cent in 2010/11, while the proportion of documentaries made for more than $1 million per hour has been relatively static.

Documentary series production has increased (from an annual average of 21 titles in the five years to 2001/02, to 36 in the following five years and 57 in the five years to 2011/12) (see Activity summary). Since 2008/09, the greatest proportion of series titles has been in the $250,000 to $499,000 (2015 dollars) per hour range. The proportion of series costing between $500,000 and $1 million per hour has also increased, from 11 per cent in 2009/10 to 25 per cent in 2014/15.

The number of series produced peaked in 2007/08, when significantly more single-season series were made. Since then, production of low-cost series has dropped, with several ongoing titles winding up, while production of higher-cost titles has continued at 2007/08 levels.

Budget ranges for:

Single documentaries

Graph: Budget ranges for single documentary titles,1997/98-2013/14. Table following provides the data.

 

 

Documentary series

Graph: Budget ranges for documentary series, 1997/98-2013/14. Table following provides the data.

 

   

High-budget highlights

High-cost non-IMAX titles have included Cane Toads: The Conquest (2007/08), The Eternity Man (2007/08) and Storm Surfers 3D (2010/11).

High-cost series have included co-productions such as Darwin's Brave New World (Australia/Canada, 2008/09) and Great Barrier Reef (Australia/UK, 2009/10), as well as domestic titles such as Rogue Nation (2007/08), In Their Footsteps (2010/11), Australia’s Wild Places (2010/11) and The Family (2010/11).

SELECT THE DATE RANGE ARROW TO REVEAL DATA BY YEAR

  Proportion of titles1
Under $250k/hr $250k–$499k/hr $500k–$1m/hr Over $1m/hr
SINGLE TITLES
2007/08–2011/12 
Annual average 33% 37% 23% 8%
2012/13–2014/15  
SERIES
2007/08–2011/12 
Annual average 32% 44% 21% 3%
2012/13–2014/15  

Source: Screen Australia.

Notes:
Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.
Includes Australian productions and productions with overseas partners where creative control is shared (ie with a mix of Australians in key creative positions).
1. Current dollar values have been adjusted for inflation using the Non-farm GDP Deflator. This index has been used in preference to the Consumer Price Index as it more accurately reflects cost increases experienced by the film industry.

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Series hours: Proportion in various budget ranges

 

Graph: Proportion and total of series hours in various budget ranges, 1998/99-2013/14. Table following provides the data.
 
  Proportion of series hours1
Under $250k/hr $250k–$499k/hr Over $500k/hr
2007/08–2011/12 
Annual average 43% 41% 17%
2012/13–2014/15 

Source: Screen Australia.

Notes:
Figures may not total due to rounding.
Includes Australian productions and productions with overseas partners where creative control is shared (ie with a mix of Australians in key creative positions).
1. Hours are calculated on actual running time of programs in minutes. Current dollar values have been adjusted for inflation using the Non-farm GDP Deflator. This index has been used in preference to the Consumer Price Index as it more accurately reflects cost increases experienced by the film industry.

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