Melbourne Studios too expensive

Melbourne_ccsMelbourne Central City Studios, better known as Docklands Studios, is the subject of an investigtion by the Sunday Herald Sun today.

It brands the lot a ‘white elephant.’

While it has been home to feature films including Ghost Rider, The Knowing, Charlotte’s Web and Where the Wild Things Are, it’s use of hire is way down amid renewed criticism it is too expensive. With the high Aussie dollar, it becomes even less attractive to overseas productions.

Yet many local productions believe its hire fee is not competitive. Frankly, the same claims were levelled at the studios when they opened in 2004.

The Victorian State Government had high hopes for the state of the art facilities, with dreams of nine international and 17 local productions shot there in the first year. But after six years, only 22 productions have been filmed at the studios.

The newspaper found international productions have only been shot 42% of the time, domestic films have been shot 8.7% of the time, presumably leaving the other 49.3% to be domestic television and downtime. It says there have only been 5 periods when all 5 studios have been full.

Television productions have included The Pacific, Nightmares and Dreamscapes and two seasons of Satisfaction. Nine’s huge set for 1 vs 100 was also housed there.

The Victorian Government has just reased a $178 million five-year strategy for the states’s screen industry, in film, television and digital media. It indicates the productions at MCCS have contributed $470m to the Victorian economy.

It will also invest $770,000 for an analysis in relation to local film and television studio facilities, including the viability of building new sound stages and/or production offices at Melbourne Central City Studios (MCCS). It is also investigating a new Horizon Tank facility near Melbourne to attract productions needing a water backdrop.



  1. The only thing that will possibly save this site, would be Neighbours moving from Nunawading. After all, why couldn’t the Vic Government offer a land swap, where Global get the new studios, and the Government gets the ex ATV-10 site.

    Plus, moving to the heart of Melbourne may give Neighbours fans (especially those who travel from overseas) a closer look at the production side of the program.

  2. @JohnTV: Yeah, only noticed the other week that Rove was being done out of Ripponlea when John Mayer tweeted something asking fans to come down to that location.

    Guess there’s no point in producing Rove in HD any more anyway, so they might as well use an archaic SD-only facility.

  3. Neon, the Seven dockland studios are incredibly small !!! Studio 1 at GTV 9 is about 10 times bigger than the Seven studios at Docklands. Nine used the Central City because it was the only space big enough for the set and because they had brought a package they did not have much flexibility in the design and layout of the set.

    The studios are very expensive for local productions to use. Either sell them off to Global who will manage them better and get local TV productions in there or drop the rates – however, the reality of the situation is the industry in Melbourne is not in a great position anyway so dropping their rates will probably not help as there is still very little being produced that needs that kind of production space. I believe Rove was going to broadcast from there after being booted out of the old Seven studios in Sth Melbourne but the cost was way too much. They finished up in the ABC studios, which need some serious work done on them…

  4. Can’t argue with that, then, David 🙂

    At the time the show was on the air there was an article in the mainstream news media mentioning how Nine didn’t have space for the set in their own studio and had to hire Seven’s in the Docklands. Guess the article got the Docklands bit right, at least… 😀

  5. I also visited there for the 1 vs 100 tapings, they need to lower their prices to attract television productions which will at least guarantee some regular work, banking on Hollywood movies when we’re guaranteed to have a high dollar as long as our interest rates stay high is pointless.

    I am also aghast that they’re spending close to a million dollars on a feasability study (why can’t they use common sense) on building a huge water tank (water which Victoria doesn’t have mind you if the constant ‘target 155’ propaganda is to be beleived!)

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