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All TV Drama formats

Number of TV drama programs produced, number of hours and total production budgets (current dollars*), 1990/91–2017/18

Next update March 2020

The TV drama slate – Australian and foreign telemovies, mini-series, series and serials – grew significantly during the 1990s, with total production budgets peaking at $495 million in 2000/01.

In the four years that followed, total budgets fell, reaching a low of $224 million in 2004/05. 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 51 programs were produced annually with total budgets of $274 million each year. Most of these were Australian (including co-productions), with an average of 44 programs per year and total budgets of $228 million. In the following decade, 2000/01 to 2009/10, the full TV drama slate averaged 48 titles and total budgets of $342 million per year, including an average of 42 Australian programs with total budgets of $285 million. In 2017/18, total budgets for Australian programs were down by 16.7 per cent on the previous year and the number of hours produced by 13.0 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.