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The Drama Report 2020/21

The Drama Report covers the production of feature films, TV drama (mini-series, telemovies and series/serials) and online drama programs by financial year.

The report incorporates data gathered through surveys and publicly available sources to give a comprehensive view of drama production activity in Australia. Data is presented for the past five years, 2016/17 to 2020/21.

Foreign titles are included if they are shot (or substantially shot) in Australia, or have post, digital or visual effects (PDV) work carried out in Australia without shooting here.

Screen Australia is considering the future format of the report to ensure it remains as relevant as possible to the marketplace. To inform this process, you are invited to complete this survey.

OVERVIEW

Drama expenditure in Australia

  • $1.914 billion total Australian expenditure - a new record spend, and nearly double last year’s, driven by Australian and foreign features.
  • Record expenditure by Australian titles - $874 million 46% of total expenditure was triggered by Australian titles that started principal photography during 2020/21.
  • 42 Australian features - $500 million a significant increase on last year and 57% above the 5-year average.
  • 21 Australian general TV drama titles - $201 million expenditure up 7% on last year, but 24% below the 5-year average. Hours decreased by 4% and were 17% below the 5-year average.
  • Seven Australian children’s TV drama titles - $48 million 6% decrease on last year and 17% below the 5-year average. Hours fell by 56%.
  •  25 Australian online drama titles - $125 million record expenditure, up 20% on last year. Hours down by 17%.
  • 63 foreign projects - $1.04 billion a record total, more than double 2019/20’s foreign project spend, comprised of:
  • Record spend of $793 million on three features, two TV dramas and five online dramas that commenced shooting in Australia, significantly up on last year’s spend.
  • Also a record for PDV-only spend, which totalled $246 million from 53 titles, up 48% on 2019/20.

Expenditure by location

  • With 48% of Australian spend, New South Wales accounted for the greatest share of total expenditure. Spend of $912 million was almost double last year and a new record high.

  • Queensland accounted for 29% of the national share, also setting a new record spend with $553m, driven by larger-budget Australian and foreign titles that were shot in the state.

  • Victoria accounted for 16% of spend, the majority of which was attributed to domestic TV and foreign online drama. Spend of $307 million was 4% down on last year.

  • South Australia reported 5% of the national share. Total spend of $96 million represented a drop of 35% on last year’s record.

  •  Western Australia’s share of spend fell slightly to 2%, with expenditure of $29 million. 

  • Spend in the Australian Capital TerritoryTasmania and the Northern Territory tripled to $18 million, or 1% of the national total.  

See the statistics section of the Screen Australia website for details and for pre-2020/21 data.

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