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AUSTRALIAN Online drama

Number produced, hours, budgets, spend and average cost per hour, 2016/17–2020/21

Next update December 2022


Online viewing has changed swiftly and significantly since 2016/17, when online titles were first measured independently from TV drama.

To provide more specific insights into production for different release platforms, Screen Australia re-categorised the titles that contributed to the 2021/22 Drama Report. These changes have been applied to the last five years of data in the report. It is Screen Australia’s intention to apply these new categories to Fact Finders in 2023. In the interim, caution is urged when comparing data to the years prior to 2017/18. Please see the full report (page 4) for more detail on the changes.

The number of Australian online titles and hours produced annually have remained relatively stable over the last five years, however budgets and cost per hour have more than doubled. In 2016/17, the average budget was $1.9 million. Five years later, in 2020/21, the average budget has risen to $5.2 million.

Of the 132 online titles produced over the last five years, 10 were made for children, with total budgets of $70.7 million.

There have been six foreign online drama titles shot in Australia - one in 2019/20 and five in 2020/21 - with an estimated total spend of $463.8 million. Due to the small sample size, they are not included in the table below.

In 2020/21, there were 25 titles made for first release online. Total budgets were $130.2 million, with $125.2 million expenditure in Australia.

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.