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Documentary duration and cost per hour

Australian documentaries (not including broadcaster-produced titles) (current* and 2015 dollars), 1997/98–2014/15

Next update March 2017

The average duration per title for single documentaries has remained around 0.96 commercial broadcast hours over the 18-year period from 1997/98 to 2014/15, while the average duration for series has increased incrementally over the same time, reflecting the trend of longer-running titles.

For series, the cost per commercial broadcast hour (in 2015 dollars) averaged $309,234 in the five years to 2014/15, slightly above the 18-year average, of $291,629 (2015 dollars).

For single titles, the cost per commercial broadcast hour (in 2015 dollars) has been rising: averaging $537,454 in the five years to 2014/15 compared to $442,121 over the 18-year period. In 2011/12, the average cost per hour for a single documentary title hit a record high of $705,891 (in 2015 dollars), up 51 per cent on 2010/11, boosted by a small number of titles with very high budgets.

In 2014/15, the average duration per title and cost per hour for both single titles and series portrayed similar traits to the previous five years.

Average cost per commercial broadcast hour (2015 dollars)

Single titles

 

Series

Graph: Average cost per hour for single titles. Table following provides the data.
 
Graph: Average cost per hour for series. Table following provides the data.

SELECT THE DATE RANGE ARROW TO REVEAL DATA BY YEAR

  No. produced Duration (hrs)1 Average per title (hrs)2 Average cost per hour
Current $3 2015 $4
SINGLE TITLES
1997/98–2001/02 
Annual average 129 115 0.89 263,807 413,264
2002/03–2006/07 
Annual average 102 96 0.96 288,584 379,254
2007/08–2011/12 
Annual average 79 78 0.99 466,238 496,323
2012/13–2014/15 
Annual av.1997/98–2014/15 98 93 0.96 366,927 442,121
SERIES
1997/98–2001/02 
Annual average 21 87 4.04 177,886 278,678
2002/03–2006/07 
Annual average 36 159 4.38 220,003 291,452
2007/08–2011/12 
Annual average 57 263 4.69 283,118 302,132
2012/13–2014/15 
Annual av.1997/98–2014/15 43 195 4.44 238,458 291,629

Source: Screen Australia.

Notes:
Includes Australian productions and productions with overseas partners where creative control is shared (ie with a mix of Australians in key creative positions).
1. Duration calculated on commercial broadcast running time of program in minutes.
2. Calculated by dividing total number of hours by the number of titles.
3. Current dollar value as per each year specified (ie not adjusted for inflation). Calculated by dividing total production budgets by the number of hours. Value as per each year specified (ie not adjusted for inflation.
4. Calculated by dividing total adjusted production budgets by the number of hours. Current dollar figures have been adjusted for inflation using the Non-farm GDP Deflator. This index was used in preference to the Consumer Price Index as it more accurately reflects cost increases experienced by the film industry.

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