Which shows top TV’s list of money-makers?

15 shows in the last 4 years have grossed $1m in profits, according to Screen Australia.


There are 15* recent Screen Australian-funded TV titles that have grossed more than $1m in sales.

Airing across the last 4 years, they were produced by companies such as Matchbox Pictures, Essential Media, Playmaker and FremantleMedia.

International appeal is the key to their success:

Cleverman, Goalpost Pictures Australia, Pukeko Pictures (NZ)
The Code, Playmaker Media
Deadline Gallipoli, Matchbox Pictures,
Devil’s Playground, Matchbox Pictures
The Doctor Blake Mysteries, December Media
INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, Shine Australia
Jack Irish series Essential Media and Entertainment
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, series one / series two, Every Cloud Productions
Rake, Essential Media and Entertainment
The Principal,  Essential Media and Entertainment
The Slap, Matchbox Pictures
Secrets and Lies, Hoodlum
Top of the Lake, See-Saw Films, Escapade Pictures (NZ)
Underground: The Julian Assange Story, Matchbox Pictures
Wentworth, FremantleMedia Australia,

In an explanatory article on TV drama, Screen Australia notes adult television drama production asan extraordinarily high-risk game because the global market is intensely competitive. Drama is particularly challenging to finance, difficult to make well and very expensive – $1.4 million per hour is the average cost, and $1.1 million is the median cost.

* 16 including x 2 seasons of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

You can read more on TV Drama profits at Screen Australia.

NB: Seven network titles which do not have Screen Australia funding will be absent from the list.

9 Responses

  1. What this article leaves out are all the series that are not supported by Screen Aus – House Husbands, Love Child, Offspring etc.

    Screen Aus only has data for their investments.

  2. Cleverman ABC
    The Code ABC
    Jack Irish ABC
    Miss Fisher ABC
    Rake ABC
    The Slap ABC
    Doctor Blake ABC

    Top of the Lake Foxtel (ABC pulled out)
    Wentworth Foxtel
    Deadline Gallipoli Foxtel
    Devils Playground Foxtel

    Secrets and Lies TEN
    Underground: The Julian Assange Story TEN

    INXS Never Tear Us Apart Seven

    The Principal SBS

  3. $1m in sales for a series to dozens of countries seems really really low. Considering these shows cost well over a million per ep to make.

    What are international networks paying per hour of Australian drama? It must be very low.

    1. You’re not wrong there, which is why most of these (and many others) wouldn’t exist without Screen Aus funding. Total cost of the above 16 productions – $145M. Gross revenue to date – $43M or less than 30% of cost.

      From the source article, the median advance paid by international distributors was about $80K ph.

    2. There are a few Aussie shows that need overseas sales to survive eg. Home And Away, Neighbours. Several shows wouldn’t have been made without overseas funding. We’re not alone, many UK shows are joint ventures. The closing credits give a clue to the source of the money.

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