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free-to-air programming 

Spending on programs of various types, local and imported, by commercial free-to-air broadcasting services in Australia, 1990/91–2008/09


According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, commercial free-to-air broadcasters spent more than $1.38 billion on programming in 2008/09 - around $50 million more than the year before.

Spending on Australian drama programs totalled $144.8 million - $132.1 million on adult TV drama and $12.7 million on children's drama. This is the highest expenditure on adult TV drama to date, up 13.4 per cent on 2007/08. Children's drama spending was down 18.1 per cent on the previous year but in line with the annual average. However, as a proportion of overall program expenditure, spending on Australian drama represented only 10 per cent, compared to 12 per cent in 2000/01 and 18 per cent in 1990/91.

Expenditure on Australian documentary programming reached an historical high in 2008/09 at $26.7 million - a 99.3 per cent increase since 2007/08.

There was $176.7 million spent on local variety programs, an increase of 5.4 per cent from the previous year. This represented 13 per cent of total program expenditure, compared to an average of 6 per cent in the 1990s and first half of this decade.

The traditional high-spending genre of news and current affairs continued to decline: at $111 million, it has decreased 8.9 per cent since 2007/08 and 31.9 per cent since 2000/01 and now represents just 8 per cent of total program expenditure. Conversely, expenditure on sport was $330.8 million in 2008/09, representing an increase of 8.2 per cent since 2007/08 and 26.7 per cent since 2000/01.

Overall, spending on Australian programs increased 2.4 per cent to $950.6 million from $928.1 million in 2007/08. Imported programs rose by 7.9 per cent, up from $398.7 million in 2007/08 to $430.3 million in 2008/09.

Since 2000/01, spending on Australian and imported programs has risen by 35.5 per cent and 50.2 per cent respectively.

See also Archive: Free-to-air industry: Program expenditure shares for the proportion of spending on local and imported programs. Programming from all sources accounted for 40 per cent of total operating costs (i.e., excluding depreciation, amortisation and interest) of the commercial sector in 2008/09.

Spend on drama programs

Spend on other programs

 

 

Graph: Program expenditure by commercial free-to-air broadcasting services on drama programs. The table following provides the data.
Graph: Program expenditure by commercial free-to-air broadcasting services on programs other than drama. The table following provides the data.

2000/01–2008/09

  Value of program expenditure ($m) % change 00/01 to 08/09
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09
Total program spending 987.9 1,007.0 1,030.3 1,005.5 1,163.4 1,221.9 1,201.1 1,326.8 1,380.9 39.8%
Program spending as a proportion of total operating costs1 38% 40% 40% 36% 36% 37% 40% 36% 40%  
No. stations 48 48 48 53 53 54 55 55 55 14.6%
Imported programs
Drama 270.2 255.9 281.3 226.7 322.7 332.0 385.9 381.4 407.8 50.9%
Other 16.2 34.9 25.9 104.1 27.9 20.7 24.8 17.3 22.5 38.9%
Unspecified imported 0 9.9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Total imported 286.4 300.7 307.3 330.8 350.6 352.7 410.8 398.7 430.3 50.2%
Australian programs
Drama 105.0 114.7 130.8 115.4 113.8 125.3 96.2 116.3 132.1 25.8%
Children’s drama 9.5 13.5 15.1 9.3 13.4 15.3 12.3 15.5 12.7 33.7%
Other children’s 8.0 4.2 3.6 3.6 8.1 5.6 12.1 11.0 9.8 22.5%
News & current affairs 163.0 167.1 164.9 123.3 167.3 166.2 166.9 121.9 111.0 -31.9%
Documentaries 3.4 2.9 4.4 2.2 9.2 12.4 9.0 13.4 26.7 685.3%
Sport 261.0 227.2 238.9 204.3 255.8 258.8 188.3 305.7 330.8 26.7%
Variety 40.4 53.8 52.0 71.5 97.8 138.2 168.7 167.6 176.7 337.4%
Other light ent. 101.1 103.9 99.5 137.3 135.0 129.5 122.4 162.8 132.3 30.9%
Other programs 10.1 16.8 13.8 7.8 12.5 17.7 14.4 13.8 25.6 153.5%
Unspecified Australian 0 2.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 -7.1 n.a.
Total Australian 701.5 706.3 723.0 674.7 812.8 869.2 790.4 928.1 950.6 35.5%

Source: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) (formerly the Australian Broadcasting Authority), Broadcasting Financial Results.

Notes: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.
n.a. Not available.
1. Excluding depreciation, amortisation and interest.

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1990/91–1999/00

  Value of program expenditure ($m)
90/91 91/92 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/00
Total program spending 633.0 630.0 698.8 652.4 676.6 699.1 761.6 798.8 897.8 863.6
Program spending as a proportion of total operating costs1 38% 43% 41% 40% 38% 38% 39% 39% 39% 41%
No. stations n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 44 44 44 47 48 48
Imported programs  
Drama 186.1 156.8 164.8 160.7 183.4 174.2 199.6 217.5 273.3 250.7
Other 22.4 19.2 17.8 23.0 17.2 22.4 15.2 17.2 19.2 16.5
Unspecified imported 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total imported 208.5 176.0 182.6 183.7 200.6 196.6 214.8 234.7 292.5 267.2
Australian programs  
Drama 111.4 95.6 88.8 72.5 72.8 77.2 73.7 82.1 117.9 89.7
Children’s drama 3.0 3.3 4.3 3.0 4.4 7.0 7.8 11.2 10.0 8.7
Other children’s 10.0 8.5 8.3 10.7 8.0 6.6 10.1 11.8 9.8 11.7
News & current affairs 106.9 139.8 153.8 155.9 145.0 139.7 153.0 160.0 156.4 153.2
Documentaries n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 6.8 6.3 6.5 6.2
Sport 92.6 107.3 149.9 106.1 117.3 128.8 149.4 153.2 183.1 187.3
Variety 31.4 30.8 34.2 36.6 33.0 49.1 62.5 47.3 43.0 48.6
Other light ent. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 75.0 79.8 69.8 68.4
Other programs 15.0 19.1 18.4 26.1 21.7 22.2 8.5 12.4 8.8 22.6
Unspecified Australian 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Australian 424.5 454.0 516.2 468.7 476.0 502.5 546.8 564.1 605.3 596.4

Source: Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), Broadcasting Financial Results.

Notes:
n.a. Not available.
1. Excluding depreciation, amortisation and interest.

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