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Number of TV drama programs produced, number of hours and total production budgets (current dollars*), 1990/91–2020/21

Next update December 2022

After significant growth through the 1990s, with budgets peaking at $495m in 2000/01, the TV drama slate – Australian and foreign telemovies, mini-series, series and serials – experienced a short-term decline in the first half of the 2000s.

Since then, total production budgets for the TV drama slate have risen again and, since 2010/11, have been above the previous decade’s average of $342 million.

Between 1990/91 and 1999/00, an average of 50 programs were produced annually with total budgets of $276 million each year. Most of these were Australian (including co-productions), with an average of 44 programs per year and total budgets of $229 million. In the following decade, 2000/01 to 2009/10, the full TV drama slate averaged 47 titles and total budgets of $342 million per year, including an average of 42 Australian programs with total budgets of $285 million.

In 2020/21, budgets and spend increased by 61 per cent and 47 per cent respectively on the previous year, while the number of titles produced fell by 15 per cent.

The level of foreign TV drama production is mainly impacted by fluctuations in the number of telemovies made here. The peak of 16 titles in 2000/01 was the result of 14 foreign telemovies starting production, due in part to the acceleration of production schedules by US companies to avoid strike action in that country.

For more details, see TV drama spending in Australia and Drama production overview: Focus on production.