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PART 3: A YEAR'S WORTH OF DRAMA: WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?

You bet it’s entertaining. But it’s also expensive. The 47 dramas that went into production in the 2014/15 financial year cost $332 million. Where did all this money come from?

SOURCES OF FINANCE FOR AUSTRALIAN TV DRAMA

The Australian film/TV industry provided the majority of finance for this year’s Australian TV drama slate (60 per cent), contributing $201million to all 47 titles. The largest proportion (and the largest from any sector) came from the commercial free-to-air networks ($93 million to 21 titles across the three commercial networks). After increased investment by the commercial free-to-air networks in recent years, this year marked the group’s lowest contribution to the total slate since 2005/06. The largest contribution from a single broadcaster came from the ABC, which provided finance to 23 titles. Subscription television financed four titles with its highest recorded contribution to the TV drama slate. SBS, distributors and production companies also contributed.

The Producer Offset, cashflowed by producers in various ways, contributed 11 per cent of finance to the overall slate, providing $37 million to 32 titles. The industry continued to be the dominant source of Offset cashflow, with the larger production companies tending to find the funds from their own resources (see ‘Snapshot 2014/15’ below).

The PDV Offset replicated last year’s $7 million contribution to seven Australian children’s animated titles that utilised this incentive, rather than the Producer Offset.

Direct government sources contributed $33 million to 33 programs in the 2014/15 TV drama slate, accounting for 10 per cent of total finance. This was up on last year’s $28 million (7 per cent), with increased contributions from both federal and state funding bodies. Screen Australia was the principal source of government finance, providing $21 million to 22 titles, a rise from $18 million for 19 titles last year. Screen Australia supported 47 per cent of the titles in this year’s TV drama slate, compared to an average of 40 per cent over the previous four years. The state agencies contributed $11 million to 30 titles, a slight increase from $10 million provided to the same number of titles last year. The majority (72 per cent) came from Film Victoria and Screen NSW.

Foreign investors provided $54 million to 21 titles, down on last year, but above the 5-year average. Last year’s high contribution was boosted by a small number of titles with substantial amounts of foreign investment.

Private investment was, consistent with its very low contribution to the overall TV drama finance each year.

See Screen Australia’s Drama Report for more information about production and financing of feature films and TV drama in Australia.

Contributions to the annual Australian TV drama slate (domestic and co-production) 2010/11–2014/15

Contribution (AU$m) % of total finance No. of programs invested in

Direct Goverment Sources1

2010/11 43.9 13% 30
2011/12 30.9 9% 33
2012/13 37.9 9% 33
2013/14 28.2 7% 33
2014/15 32.9 10% 33
5-year average 34.8 10% 32

Australian private investors

2010/11 < 1 < 1% 1
2011/12 < 1 < 1% 1
2012/13 < 1 < 1% 3
2013/14 < 1 < 1% 4
2014/15 < 1 < 1% 1
5-year average < 1 < 1% 2

Producer Offset

2010/11 46.5 14% 34
2011/12 40.3 12% 39
2012/13 51.7 13% 45
2013/14 43.8 11% 37
2014/15 37.5 11% 32
5-year average 44.0 12% 37

PDV Offset

2013/14 6.5 2% 7
2014/15 7.4 2% 7

Australian Film/TV Industry2

2010/11 217.2 63% 40
2011/12 212.4 63% 43
2012/13 270.4 66% 57
2013/14 244.4 63% 48
2014/15 200.8 60% 47
5-year average 229.0 63% 47

Foreign Investors

2010/11 34.5 10% 19
2011/12 50.8 15% 17
2012/13 47.2 12% 29
2013/14 65.4 17% 27
2014/15 53.6 16% 21
5-year average 50.3 14% 23

Notes: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.
1. Includes direct funding from Australian state and federal agencies and funding bodies. Equity investments only – distribution guarantees, loans and underwriting are not included.
2. Finance provided by Australian-based producers and production companies, distribution companies, free-to-air broadcasters (commercial and public) and subscription TV channels. The Producer Offset, cashflowed in various ways, is listed separately.