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Focus on the core Australian feature slate

Next update March 2018

Total production budgets for Australian features fluctuate each year, due largely to the impact of a small number of fully foreign financed, usually high-budget, films. Annual variations can also be caused by the timing of principal photography start dates.

To clarify trends and smooth out the sharp annual fluctuations caused by the presence or absence of such films, we have used two-year rolling averages and excluded all projects fully financed from overseas and high-budget titles majority financed by US studios, as well as co-productions.

The rationale for excluding such films is solely to isolate and examine the ‘core’ of Australian feature production. While high-budget, foreign-financed local features such as Australia, Happy Feet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby are extremely important to Australian production activity as a whole, they are exceptional and skew the results statistically when trying to build a picture of the general production slate.

An analysis of this ‘core slate’ over the past 21 years shows there was a downward trend in average annual production budgets between 2001/02–2002/03 and 2003/04–2004/05, due partly to a decline in foreign investment over this period, although average production budgets and foreign investment increased again in the following years. Average production budgets peaked in 2008/09–2009/10, with increased investment from government and industry sources.

Investment from government agencies underpins the core slate, averaging around $31 million annually since 2000/01–2001/02. Until 2007/08, this was mainly from the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), which became part of Screen Australia in July 2008 – now the primary source of direct government funding. Private investment has fluctuated, with peaks created by contributions from the Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICs) in the two-year period to June 2003 and escalated use of 10BA in the two-year period to June 2008.

Division 10BA was closed to new applicants in July 2007 with the introduction of the Producer Offset, although the concessional status for investment in productions holding a valid 10BA certificate was available until 30 June 2009. Industry sources have become more significant since the introduction of the Producer Offset in 2007/08, which is counted as finance raised by producers.

Production value of all Australian features and core slate1, 2-year rolling averages
 Graph: Production value of all Australian features and core slate, 2-year rolling averages. Table below has the data.

Contributions of each investor type to core Australian feature slate1, 2-year rolling averages
 Graph: Investor contributions to core slate, 2-year rolling average. Table below has the data.

 

  Average annual
production budgets ($m)
Investor contributions to core slate1 ($m)
All Aust. films2 Core slate1 Aust. Government sources3 Aust. private investors4 Aust. film/TV industry5 Foreign investors
1995/96 & 1996/97       110 86 42 11 15 18
1996/97 & 1997/98 148 89 39 15 16 20
1997/98 & 1998/99 141 76 34 16 12 14
1998/99 & 1999/00 129 71 31 16 10 13
1999/00 & 2000/01 152 66 34 11 7 14
2000/01 & 2001/02 167 85 35 19 12 18
2001/02 & 2002/03 121 69 24 25 11 10
2002/03 & 2003/04 148 52 25 16 7 5
2003/04 & 2004/05 168 62 28 16 8 8
2004/05 & 2005/06 118 72 36 16 13 8
2005/06 & 2006/07 198 74 39 12 13 9
2006/07 & 2007/08 262 101 34 30 20 16
2007/08 & 2008/09 330 109 35 26 37 11
2008/09 & 2009/10 354 152 39 19 79 14
2009/10 & 2010/11 213 138 30 21 72 15
2010/11 & 2011/12 249 85 23 9 42 12
2011/12 & 2012/13 338 111 33 8 52 18
2012/13 & 2013/14 333 120 32 11 59 19
2013/14 & 2014/15 245 129 26 15 68 20
2014/15 & 2015/16 169 121 26 13 64 18

Notes:
Figures are updated on an ongoing basis therefore there may be some discrepancies with previously published data.
Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.
1. Core slate excludes co-productions, all projects fully financed from overseas and high-budget titles majority financed by US studios. For more information on domestic and co-productions, see About the data
2. Australian films are productions under Australian creative control, including domestic productions and other productions involving shared creative control, i.e. with a mix of Australians in key creative positions.
3. Includes direct funding from Australian state and federal agencies and funding bodies. Comprises equity investments only - distribution guarantees, loans and underwriting are not included.
4. Includes private non-industry sources such as FLICs, and 10B and 10BA investors.
5. Includes Australian-based film and TV producers and production companies, distribution companies, commercial free-to-air broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, and subscription TV channels. Producer Offset included from 2007/08.

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