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Documentary PRODUCTION
Budget ranges
Cost per Hour

Australian documentaries (not including broadcaster-produced titles) (current* and 2017 dollars), 1997/98–2016/17

Next update July 2019


The average duration per title for single documentaries has remained around 0.97 commercial broadcast hours over the 20-year period from 1997/98 to 2016/17, 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 2017 dollars) averaged $325,705 in the five years to 2016/17, slightly above the 20-year average, of $307,076 (2017 dollars).

For single titles, the cost per commercial broadcast hour (in 2017 dollars) has been rising: averaging $540,158 in the five years to 2016/17 compared to $468,430 over the 20-year period. In 2011/12, the average cost per hour for a single documentary title hit a record high of $729,526 (in 2017 dollars), up 51 per cent on 2010/11, boosted by a small number of titles with very high budgets.

In 2016/17, the cost per hour for single titles was up on previous years while the average duration per title was slightly down. The average duration of series titles remained relatively steady, however the cost per hour was up.

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