Report finds ABC contributes to social cohesion, economic impact.

Shows such as Mystery Road, Total Control, Rosehaven, Love on the Spectrum, Bluey contribute to the Australian economy & society, a report reveals.

ABC shows contributed $744 million to the Australian economy and supported more than 8000 roles over three years, according to a new report.

ABC engaged Deloitte Access Economics to undertake an economic contribution study to illustrate how its internal productions and externally commissioned productions contribute to the Australian economy and society.

The report reveals that from 2017-18 to 2019-20, the ABC commissioned 433 screen productions that delivered more than 2500 hours of Australian content. Those productions contributed $744 million in total to the Australian economy and supported more than 8300 FTE roles across multiple sectors.

The report covers screen content produced internally by the ABC or in partnership with the independent sector across arts, children’s, documentaries, drama, comedy, Indigenous and entertainment.

Programs such as Mystery Road, Total Control, Rosehaven, Love on the Spectrum, Bluey and Back in Time for Dinneralso delivered social and cultural benefits for all Australians, including by contributing to a sense of national identity, promoting social inclusion and discovering and developing new talent.

David Anderson, ABC Managing Director, said: “The Deloitte Access Economics report highlights the ABC’s crucial role in supporting Australian economic activity, jobs and culture, at a time when distinctive and diverse Australian stories risk being swamped by a fragmented global media market.

“While almost half the nation watches programs on ABC TV and ABC iview each week, this report quantifies for the first time the substantial economic benefits of those screen productions, as well as outlining the important social and cultural impacts. As the report finds, ABC screen commissions boost the Australian economy by hundreds of millions of dollars and support thousands of jobs across many sectors and locations, around the country.

“We’re proud to back more homegrown content than any other broadcaster, and to provide content and services that build the economy and bring Australian stories to all Australians, now and in the years to come.”

Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist, said: “The ABC is a leading contributor and employer within Australia’s creative industries sector, through our investment in a diverse range of productions and commitment to high quality, relevant public service content.

“As the Deloitte Access Economics report makes clear, the ABC also plays a leading role in supporting Australian culture and diversity and delivering more Australian faces, voices and stories on screen. Celebrating the wonderful range of ideas, ideals and cultural values that Australians hold dear makes us all stronger.”

John O’Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics Partner and lead report author, said: “The ABC’s investments not only support jobs directly, they leverage other funding sources, create jobs in screen businesses and indirectly support jobs in the broader economy.

“These are important economic dynamics to consider as Australia looks for new sources of growth.”

It follows Screen Australia’s Drama Report which found ABC provided the most finance for Australian drama of any single platform, investing $42 million – up 22 per cent on 2019/20 – on 17 titles, including six of seven Children’s titles,

The publication of the Deloitte Access Economics report comes ahead of tonight’s AACTA Awards, the nation’s top screen prizes, with ABC programs and people in the running for more than 60 awards.

Key findings of the Deloitte Access Economics report, “Economic contribution of screen productions commissioned by the ABC”:

  • From 2017-18 to 2019-20, the ABC was involved in the commission of 433 screen productions, helping to bring more than 2500 hours of Australian content to screen.
  • Those ABC-commissioned productions contributed $744 million to the Australian economy in total, inclusive of funding from third parties, and supported more than 8300 FTE roles. Over 5900 of those roles worked directly on productions (including ABC and non-ABC staff), while a further 2400 roles were supported throughout the economy through spending on goods and services.
  • ABC productions catalyse further support, funding and opportunity for the Australian production industry. Every dollar spent by the ABC on external commissions catalysed a further $1.11 from other funders on average.
  • The ABC’s steady stream of production funding also supports the pipeline of work in the Australian production sector and builds the skills and capabilities of its workers. This is critical for the viability of the sector overall.
  • ABC productions also deliver social and cultural benefits for all Australians, including an authentic and diverse representation of all aspects of modern Australian life and by telling distinctive and powerful stories that inform, entertain and inspire.
  • Productions commissioned by the ABC often have further flow-on effects outside Australia, including by generating revenue from global distribution and bringing money into the Australian economy.

2 Responses

  1. … yep, that tiny figure of $42mil on drama is a bit of a comedown from ABC’s heyday … but we have to remember that ABC has now chosen to spend the lion’s share of its appropriation on news and is now a “purchaser” of drama content not a “producer” of drama content, so I have to take a bit of an issue with David Anderson’s line “at a time when distinctive and diverse Australian stories risk being swamped by a fragmented global media market” because, by pushing the risk back on to independent producers, the reality is that they have to get more money from international backers and international sales so diluting the “Australianness” of the product in order to satisfy that “global media market” rather than the Australian one which tends to force a compromise on “innovation” which is what the ABC used to be about when it was making drama product itself …

  2. So the ABC’s drama funding is now $42m out of $1,100m per year or 3.8% of its budget. $AUD 42m won’t fund a third of a season of a global, big budget, premium drama these days. It isn’t the ABC funding anything, it’s taxpayers who give the ABC $1.1b, fund arts bodies that fund TV, and subsidise global production companies through massive tax subsidies, which the Government has just given another large increase again to soften the blow from Covid ceasing to become a reason for producing shows in Australia.

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