Oz drama spending nears $1BN in 2019/20 | Media Analysis | Business
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In the latest version of its annual report Screen Australia has revealed the clear impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on screen industry showing expenditure in 2019/20 on drama production in Australia reached $991 million, 18% down on spend at the same time a year ago.
Screen Australia Drama Report 24Nov2020
The Drama Report is based on data from industry to provide an overview of the production of local and foreign feature, television and online drama titles, as well as post, digital and visual effects (PDV) activity. All expenditure is allocated to the year in which principal photography began. PDV employs a secondary method of analysis, which is outlined in the PDV section below, and in the report. Drama refers to scripted narratives of any genre.

The key element driving the fall in 2019/2020 expenditure said Screen Australia was Covid-19 which caused the near total shutdown of large-scale drama production in March 2020. Expenditure by Australian titles that started principal photography in 2019/20 accounted for 55% of the total expenditure, with $543 million generated by 74 Australian productions, down 32% on 2018/19’s record result. In total, 41 foreign projects (including PDV-only titles) generated $447 million in spend, an 8% increase in spend on 2018/19.

"Never in the 30 year history of the Drama Report have we seen an event like the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Screen Australia’s chief executive officer, Graeme Mason, commenting on the report. “While we looked on track to celebrate a record year in many areas of the industry, the pandemic is estimated to have postponed around 26 Australian drama titles with total budgets exceeding $325 million. This large scale impact is unprecedented.

Mason added that going forward, several challenges remain with many projects reporting increases in costs as they make necessary adjustments to work in a Covid-safe environment, while others are yet to resume work or get started for a variety of Covid-related reasons. This will likely also affect productions slated to commence work in 2020/21 which have not been able to, with dramatic changes in production schedules impacting the availability of cast, crew and studio space.

The Australian government said that it was committed to supporting the industry as it moves forward with production activity across the country. Noted  Australia’s Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher.  “The Government’s $400 million increase to the Location Incentive Scheme announced in July will attract more foreign film and television productions to Australia over the next seven years, and we have also announced further reforms to the long-term regulation and funding of content. The $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund to date has been allocated to 23 approved projects supporting the safe return of production. And we have provided additional funding of $53 million to Screen Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation for the development and production of quality Australian content.”