The subscription television (STV) industry is committed to producing and providing high quality and diverse Australian content across a variety of genres.
ASTRA's Annual Australian Content Investment and Employment Announcement at Parliament House Canberra, 31 October 2012. Clockwise: Senator The Hon Stephen Conroy gives opening remarks; ASTRA Chairman The Hon Steve Bracks announces STV's FY2012 investment in Australian production and employment; SKY NEWS presenter Helen Dalley moderates a discussion with panelists John McAvoy, Managing Director of Eyeworks Australia, Brian Walsh, Executive Director of Television for Foxtel, Penny Chapman, Co-founder of Matchbox Pictures and Des Monaghan, Screentime Executive Chairman.
The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 prescribes that subscription TV licensees that broadcast drama channels, and drama channel package providers, are required to invest at least 10% of their total program expenditure on new Australian drama. Subscription television consistently produces hundreds of thousands of hours of Australian content each year across all genres, not just drama, with its investment in local production far exceeding this regulatory requirement.
The ASTRA Australian Content Investment survey captures investment in Australian and local content by 30 organisations representing 200 channels. The survey reports on investment in local production from the concept stage through to broadcasting, quantifying how much STV invests holistically into Australian production. ASTRA commenced reporting financial year investment as of 2012.
The 2012 Australian Content Investment Survey found:
STV platform and channel investment into Australian content: $667m
People directly employed by STV platforms and channels: 4,657
Total people employed including platform outsourcing: 6,461
This represents a growth in investment in Australian content by 13% over financial year 2011.
Media Release: Subscription TV industry investment in Australian content production increases by 13%.
Visit the ASTRA Programming page to see a list of Australian production airing this month.
Informational data sheets available for download
Investment in Australian Production & Employment
The 2010 (calendar year) Australian Content Investment Survey found:
- STV platform and channel investment into Australian content: $578.4m
- People directly employed by STV platforms and channels: 4,920
- Total people employed including platform outsourcing: 7,410
This represents a growth in investment in Australian content by 7% and employment by 6% from the 2009-10 findings.
The 2009 (calendar year) Australian Content Investment survey found:
- STV platform and channel investment into Australian content: $541.4m
- People directly employed by STV platforms and channels: 4,643
Subscription television broadcasts and produces Australian content across the following genres: news, sport, lifestyle, children’s, drama, light entertainment, music, documentary and movies.
The Government’s Convergence Review examined changes to Australian content regulation. ASTRA made several submissions to the Review, available on ASTRA Convergence Review page.
ASTRA supports the need for a vibrant and sustainable Australian content production industry and recognises that, in the longer term, the industry is likely to require greater reliance on direct and indirect subsidy mechanisms. ASTRA supports:
- an increase in the Producer Offset for television programs to be increased to a level comparable to film
- more flexibility in the funding processes of Screen Australia to better accommodate different content production business models.
However, any significant reform to the regulatory framework for Australian content must be considered in the broader regulatory context. More substantial Australian content obligations should continue to apply to commercial free-to-air television broadcasters while they continue to enjoy additional regulatory privileges and protections.
The Government received the Final Report of the Convergence Review on 30 March 2012 and is currently considering its response to the Report's recommendations. Further information on the Review is available from The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
Screen Australia Review of Television Funding
On 3 May 2011, Screen Australia released its revised Funding Guidelines for small screen production, which took effect from 1 July 2011. Further information is available on the Screen Australia website.
The new guidelines follow a review by Screen Australia of its funding of television production in 2010, and request for comment on a draft blueprint for television funding “Funding Australian Content on ‘Small Screens’: A Draft Blueprint” (November 2010) and draft funding guidelines for further industry comment (March 2011).
ASTRA submissions to Screen Australia:
2010 Review of the Independent Screen Production Sector
In 2010 the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts conducted a review into the independent screen production sector. The report of this review was released on 17 February 2011 by the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP.
As part of the May 2011 Budget, the Government announced a $56 million support package for the film and television industry including changes to the Screen Production Incentive worth $43 million and direct funding to small budget documentaries of $11 million.
Legislation to implement the Government’s Budget announcement regarding the Producer, Location and PDV Offsets received Royal Assent on 23 November 2011. The changes included lowering the Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE) threshold for feature films to $500,000 and numerous other changes to make QAPE easier to calculate for applicants. The amendments will apply to projects which receive Screen Australia investment confirmation on or after 1 July 2011 and do not have Screen Australia investment and that commence pre-production on or after 1 July 2011.
ASTRA submissions in relation to the Independent Screen Production Sector Review: