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Online drama

Number, total production budgets (current dollars*) and hours of online drama shot 2016/17–2019/20

Next update December 2021

Online viewing is a new normal – one that supplements and challenges cinema and broadcast television, and that evolves as quickly as the technology that drives it.

Most Australians now use the internet to watch professionally produced screen content, and as video-on-demand (VOD) services proliferate and evolve, a growing volume of professionally-produced drama content is being made for online release.

While Australian VOD audiences are still watching content on traditional platforms, they are increasingly seeking new Australian content, and new Australian screen stories.

The profile of online series, and the audiences watching them, has grown in recent years partly due to the evolution of YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook as destinations for professionally-produced scripted content.

Screen Australia’s tracking of online drama includes single-episode or series programs with total durations of 30 minutes or more that have premiered online, in Australia. Broadly speaking, the analysis covers titles released via: SVOD (e.g. Stan), FVOD (e.g. ABC iview), AVOD (e.g. SBS on demand and YouTube), TVOD (e.g. iTunes). For titles that have a simultaneous TV broadcast and online release, they have been accounted for as TV drama.

In 2019/20, there were 23 titles made for first release online. Total budgets were $97 million, with $94 million expenditure in Australia. While the number of titles made in 2019/20 was down on the previous year, hours, budgets and cost-per-hour were all up.