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Podcast – Michael Brealey: Industry health, change, and the Drama Report

Screen Australia COO Michael Brealey talks through the trends and takeaways from the Drama Report, and bigger picture thoughts on the state of the sector.

Michael Brealey

Michael Brealey. Photo credit: John McRae

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

In his first long-form interview since starting at Screen Australia in June 2018, Chief Operating Officer Michael Brealey discusses a range of topics, from the emergence of streamers, to what he's hearing from industry, and the challenges around regulatory reform.

Brealey also explains the key takeaways in the just-released 2018/19 Drama Report, which measures the health of the Australian screen industry by detailing the production of local and foreign feature films, television, and online programs plus PDV (post, digital and visual effects) activity. This year, it’s seen new records reached in terms of expenditure on Australian titles – a boon for the local industry.

“The key takeaway is just that there’s just a huge spike in expenditure compared to last year and that it’s big over the five-year average,” he says.

“Australian drama expenditure was (also) a record… which is really very encouraging.” He noted that children’s drama productions and foreign films had seen huge growth as well.

During the podcast, Brealey also discusses Screen Australia's priorities going forward including income diversification.

And despite the challenges, Brealey says the future is bright.

“The sky is not going to fall,” he says.

“There will be changes and it will get tougher for a period but overall the outlook is very positive. Particularly in terms of the quality of Australian content we’re seeing… It’s world-leading stuff and Australians are consuming it.”

On ABC, Mystery Road became the broadcaster’s highest rating adult TV drama on iview, and children’s series Bluey is their most-streamed show in history. Meanwhile this year’s The Hunting is the highest-ever rating Australian drama commission on SBS.

“There’s no cultural cringe around it,” he says.

*Note: in this context, ‘drama’ refers to scripted narratives of any genre

  • Read the full report here

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