Drama Report 2013-14

TV Drama output drops after a bumper year in 2012-13, with fewer miniseries and children's drama.

2014-11-15_1911Australian Television Drama expenditure has decreased by 8% in 2013-14 after reaching record highs a year ago.

The results were down on last year’s high, which was elevated due to increased investment by the ABC and record levels of mini-series production. The Adult Drama slate was down marginally on 2012/13, while Children’s Drama activity also decreased following last year’s recovery.

There were only two Co-productions in this year’s TV drama slate, down from six last year.

Here are the results for productions that started principal photography during the financial year 2013-14 (2012-13 results in brackets):

In 2014 there were 49 Australian TV dramas (56) with total expenditure in Australia at $343 million ($372m) down by 8% (+7%). This comprised $244m ($273m) industry investment and $28m ($38m) government investment. There was $65m ($44m) foreign investment.

The total hours of produced Drama (includes scripted Comedy) was hours 595 hours (656 hrs).


The adult TV drama slate comprised 38 titles (40) across 464 hours (502) with total budgets of $301m ($314m) and expenditure in Australia of $290m ($306m). Overall hours decreased by 7.5 per cent and budgets and spend by 4 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

There were 15 mini-series produced, down from 22 a year earlier and 5 telemovies (5). Series TV was up at 18 titles (13) and 325 hours (308 hrs).

Seven and TEN networks continued to account for the lion’s share of hours produced, with two long-running serials Home and Away and Neighbours respectively, followed by the ABC which had 12 series made this year. ABC’s was the largest share of total budgets of any single broadcaster. Seven Network made the highest financial contribution from a single broadcaster.

Subscription Television produced 2 dramas and 1 co-production.


There were 11 titles (17) with 131 hours of programs (159 hrs) with total budgets of 86 million ($94m). All but two of the 10 Australian titles were animated. There was one co-production.

Children’s programs for Nine accounted for the largest share of both hours and budgets, after three years of little or no activity. Seven produced 26 hours (33 hrs) as two titles (2). TEN produced 13 hours in one title this year, the lowest since 2003 / 04.

Children’s TV drama for the ABC was lower this year following last year’s record production levels.

Foreign TV drama activity totalled just $1m ($21m) in Australian expenditure. There were 2 (2) titles Sudden (Singapore) and an epsiode of Modern Family.

No foreign TV drama titles commenced post, digital or visual effects (PDV) work in Australia this year following a decline in the preceding year, tied to ta recent high Australian dollar.

STATE ACTIVITY: Location of expenditure ( NB: includes film production)
NSW: 42% (57%)
Vic: 31% (32%)
Qld: 15% (3%)
SA: 9% (7%)
WA: 2% (3%)
TAS / ACT / NT: 1% (1%)

South Australian activity increased to record its highest share ever at 9 per cent, including ANZAC Girls, Deadline Gallipoli and movie The Water Diviner.  The report also showed strong domestic drama activity for the rest of the states including the Northern Territory with 8MMM Aboriginal Radio and movie Last Cab to Darwin, Tasmania with Buzz Bumble and the ACT with The Code and movie Me and My Mates v The Zombie Apocalypse.

However Film & TV Drama activity generated by NSW-based companies continued to account for the majority of production in 2013/14 at 81% (81%), followed by Victoria at 13% (13%).


The Australian industry contributed $244m ($273m) towards financing 47 titles. The largest proportion came from the commercial free-to-air broadcasters. The ABC provided finance towards 20 titles.

Direct government sources contributed $28m ($38m) to 31 programmes. Screen Australia was the principal source of government finance, with $18m ($27m) invested in 18 (20) titles.

Screen Australia CEO  Graham Mason said, “It’s been a strong year for Australian production with an exciting line-up of content to hit our screens next year. While local content is still the main game and the bedrock of our industry, we’ve seen a boost in total production with top-profile talent such as Angelina Jolie choosing our shores and crews to make their films. We are also thrilled to have Wastelander Panda, the first exclusively online series to be included in the report.

“Healthy domestic production levels continued with local TV and feature films accounting for over 76 per cent of the overall drama production expenditure in 2013/14 – a substantial $640 million.

“It has been a solid year for local features recording the strongest result in five years. And we are continuing to turn out the high-quality TV drama that audiences have come to love and expect.”

Recently, Free TV Chairman, Harold Mitchell, said: “Commercial free-to-air broadcasters are proud of the role they play in producing high quality Australian programming that resonates with millions of Australians every day.

“But we are operating in a challenging environment where broadcasters are competing against new services that are unregulated, pay little or no Australian taxes, and invest virtually nothing in local content production.”



8MMM Aboriginal Radio
Brindle Films Pty Ltd, Princess Pictures Pty Ltd

Black Comedy
Scarlett Pictures Pty Limited

Danger 5 series 2
Dinosaur Pty Ltd,
Hedone Productions Pty Ltd

Home and Away series 27
Seven Network Operations Limited

It’s a Date series 2
Princess Pictures Pty Ltd

Seven Network Operations Limited

The Lost Tools of Henry Hoke
JDR Screen

Maximum Choppage
Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd

The Moodys
Jungleboys FTV Pty Limited

Neighbours series 31
Fremantle Media International Distribution

Please Like Me series 2
Pigeon Fancier Productions, John & Josh International

Soul Mates
Van Vuuren Bros Pty Ltd, Ludo Studio Pty Ltd, Soul Mates TV Pty Ltd, Soul HQ Pty Ltd

Upper Middle Bogan series 2
Gristmill Pty Ltd

Working Dog Pty Ltd

Wastelander Panda –The Chronicle of Isaac and Rose
Madman Production Company Pty Ltd,
Epic Films

Winners & Losers series 4
Seven Network Operations Limited

Wonderland series 2
FremantleMedia Australia


Screentime Pty Ltd

The Code
Playmaker Media Pty Ltd

Deadline Gallipoli
Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd, Full Clip Productions LLC

The Doctor Blake Mysteries series 2
December Media Pty Ltd

Fat Tony & Co.
Screentime Pty Ltd

Endemol Australia Pty Ltd

House Husbands series 3
Playmaker Media Pty Ltd

Love Child series 2
Playmaker Media Pty Ltd

Offspring series 5
Endemol Australia Pty Ltd

Party Tricks
Endemol Australia Pty Ltd

A Place to Call Home series 2
Seven Network Operations Limited

Time of Our Lives series 2
Jahm Pictures

Wentworth series 2
FremantleMedia Australia

Wentworth series 3
FremantleMedia Australia

Catching Milat part 1
Shine (Aust) Pty Ltd

Catching Milat part 2
Shine (Aust) Pty Ltd

The Killing Field
Seven Network Operations Limited

Parer’s War
Pericles Films Pty Ltd

FremantleMedia Australia

The Adventures of Bubble Bath Bay

Bubble Bath Bay Pty Ltd

Buzz Bumble
Blue Rocket Productions Pty Ltd, Criya Innfotainment,
Creating Buzz P/L

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs
SLR Productions, Telegael,
Top Draw Animation

Exchange Student Zero
Fragrant Gumtree Entertainment Pty Ltd

Heidi Productions Pty Limited, Studio 100 Animation SAS

In Your Dreams series 2
Endemol Australia Pty Ltd

Mako Mermaids series 2
Jonathan M Shiff Productions Pty Ltd

Monster Beach
Bogan Entertainment Solutions

Prisoner Zero
Prisoner Zero Productions Pty Ltd

Flying Bark Productions


Banished (Australia / UK) RSJ Films
See-Saw Films Pty Ltd


Pirate Express (Australia/ Canada)
Sticky Pictures Pty Ltd, Atomic Cartoons Inc


Modern Family (US)
20th Century Fox Television USA, Steven Levitan Productions, Picador Productions

Sudden (Singapore)
MediaCorp Channel 8

Screen Australia Drama Report

5 Responses

  1. Harold Mitchell is right to note the new online operators here who are not bound by Australian content rules but let’s not forget: Labor slashed free to air licence fees by 50% without any obligation for further OZ content, they got the extra channels for nothing, they buy cheap “Australian content” from New Zealand, they get direct subsidy for some dramas and docs from Screen Australia and the Producer Offset gives them a rebate of up to 20% for local dramas and docs. So that new drama series will get the rebate as will all those docu soaps such as Kings Cross ER. There is in fact far more government subsidy available for local drama and docos than there has even been. The great shame is that this money is now being spent on shows which would have been made anyway without subsidy such as the cheap and cheerful docusoaps and long running TV dramas.

  2. Victoria’a 13% share of originated projects has stirred the base up. This is partly a reflection of Enterprise Companies now coming to the fore in commissioned work. It’s probably time Film Victoria got back into producer support in a meaningful way.

  3. It’s the downward trend that is very worrying. These dramas need to be split out into their genres and budget levels to be meaningful. ABC has outsourced kids live action drama to their former colleague at Matchbox. It’s time Richard Finlayson sorted this out.

  4. There are indirect subsidies as well through tax concessions.

    Mitchell’s complaining about being unable to get the government tax and regulate the competition out of business is pathetic.

    So far there are around 200k thousand Australian’s believed to be using Netflix through a VPN. So not much competition like he talks about yet. That will change though. The first of the ranks is Stan — half owned by Channel Nine, on of the companies Free TV is a mouthpiece for!

Leave a Reply