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Latest release

Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia methodology

Reference period
2015 - 2016
Released
15/06/2017
Next release Unknown
First release

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This publication presents results from an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of businesses mainly engaged in film and video production and post-production services and an ABS census of businesses mainly engaged in television broadcasting, television channel provision and digital game development. This collection was funded by Screen Australia and was conducted in respect of the 2015-16 financial year. This is the seventh time the ABS has conducted some form of this collection, and the third time that digital game development has been included after its introduction in 2006-07. Previous statistics were released for the 2011-12, 2006-07, 2002-03, 1999-2000, 1996-97 and 1993-94 financial years.

Reference period

2 The period covered by the collection is generally the 12 months ended 30 June 2016. Where businesses are unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than those relating to employment. Such businesses make a substantial contribution to some of the estimates presented in this publication. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended June in the relevant year.

3 Although financial estimates relate to the full 12 months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2016. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.

4 Financial data incorporate all units in scope of the survey that were in operation at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those which were in the development stage or were not in operation, but still existed and held or acquired assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).

Classifications

5 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:


See below for further details on scope and coverage.

Scope

Structure of output populations

6 The following hierarchy shows the structure of the populations contributing to the Film, Television and Digital Games estimates. There are three distinct populations at the broadest level, and each level is the sum of its components. Note that while data for Public broadcasters are not separately published, they are included in the data for Broadcasters and channel providers. Definitions for these populations can be found in the Glossary.

  • Film and video production and post-production businesses
    • Film and video production businesses
    • Film and video post-production businesses
  • Broadcasters and channel providers
    • Public broadcasters (not separately published)
    • Commercial broadcasters and channel providers
      • Commercial free-to-air broadcasters
      • Subscription broadcasters and channel providers
  • Digital game developers


7 Film and video production and post-production businesses are further split to describe businesses based on their reported activities:

  • Drama and documentary production and post-production businesses
  • Other production and post-production businesses

Survey of film and television production and post-production businesses

8 The scope of the Film and Video Production and Post-Production component of the survey included all employing and significant non-employing businesses classified on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) to the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0):

  • ANZSIC class 5511 Motion picture and video production.
  • ANZSIC class 5514 Post-production services and other motion picture and video activities.
     

9 For ANZSIC class 5511 Motion picture and video production, the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in producing films, videos and television programs or commercials. These productions are recorded and stored on a variety of analogue or digital visual media. These businesses are referred to as Film and video production businesses throughout this publication.

10 For ANZSIC class 5514 Post-production services and other motion picture and video activities the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in providing post-production services and other motion picture and video activities, including specialised film or video post-production services such as editing, film/tape transfers, titling, subtitling, credits, closed captioning and computer-produced graphics, animation and special effects, as well as developing and processing motion picture film. These businesses are referred to as Film and video post-production businesses throughout this publication.

11 For the purposes of this survey, significant non-employing businesses were defined as all non-employing businesses with an estimated annual turnover of at least $87,000 for film and video production and post-production businesses. This turnover threshold was selected so that the contribution of significant non-employing businesses, combined with all employing businesses, made up at least 97.5% of the total estimated annual turnover for all businesses classified to Classes 5511 and 5514 respectively.

Census of broadcasters and channel providers

12 The scope of the census of broadcasters and channel providers was a subset of all businesses classified, on the ABSBR, to the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0):

  • ANZSIC class 5621 Free-to-air television broadcasting
  • ANZSIC class 5622 Cable and other subscription broadcasting


13 For ANZSIC class 5621 Free-to-air television broadcasting the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in the free-to-air television broadcasting of visual content, in the form of electronic images together with sound, through broadcasting studios and facilities. These units may also produce or transmit visual programming to affiliated television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs on a pre-determined schedule. Transmissions are made available without cost to the viewer. Businesses classified to this class on the ABSBR were matched to external industry lists of television broadcast licence holders to ensure complete coverage of businesses was achieved. With the exclusion of Public Broadcasters, these businesses are referred to as Commercial free-to-air broadcasters throughout this publication.

14 For ANZSIC class 5622 Cable and other subscription broadcasting the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in broadcasting television programs on a subscription or fee basis (such as subscription cable or satellite television broadcasting). The scope also included businesses primarily engaged in the activity of the provision of television channels to subscription broadcasters. Businesses classified to this ANZSIC class on the ABSBR were matched to external lists of television broadcast licence holders and subscription television channel content providers to ensure complete coverage of businesses was achieved. These businesses are referred to as Subscription broadcasters and channel providers throughout this publication.

15 It should be noted that the scope for these businesses excludes any businesses engaged in broadcasting as secondary activity as well as community broadcasters. Due to the recent emergence of businesses primarily engaged in broadcasting over the internet this group have been included as part of Subscription broadcasters and channel providers despite being predominantly classified to ANZSIC class 5700 Internet publishing and broadcasting.

Census of digital game developers

16 The census of digital game developers included all Australian businesses that generated income predominantly from the development of digital games for a range of formats (major consoles, handheld consoles, personal computers, tablets and mobile phones).

17 These units were primarily identified using an external listing of digital game developers provided by industry associations, and supplementary research. The population covers a range of ANZSIC classes as there is no specific ANZSIC class for digital game development. In scope units have been found to be predominantly coded to ANZSIC class 7000 (Computer system design and related services).

18 In scope businesses will generally have the capability and staff to develop a digital game from start to finish, but may outsource particular components of a project to other businesses with more technical expertise (e.g. to animation studios). Conversely, these units may also provide game development services to other game developers, rather than developing full game titles on their own. These businesses are referred to as Digital game developers throughout this publication.

19 It should be noted that the scope does not include businesses that provide support services to game development businesses, such as animation or sound studios, or businesses that primarily develop gaming machines (i.e. poker machines) or primarily provide education or training. Businesses that primarily provide software development services, develop board games or interactive DVD games are also excluded from the scope.

Scope of estimates

20 There are three distinct types of data output in Film, Television and Digital Games: financial activity data, production activity data, and employment activity data. Specific types of business contribute to the different data cubes in this publication as described below. All financial estimates are expressed in current prices.

21 Financial activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, excluding Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cubes 1, 3, 4 and 5 on the ABS website.

22 Production activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, including Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cube 2 on the ABS website.

23 Employment activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, excluding Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cubes 1, 3, 4 and 5 on the ABS website.

Coverage

Frame

24 The frame used for the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, like most ABS economic collections, was taken from the ABSBR.

Statistical units

25 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail. In mid 2002, the ABS commenced sourcing its register information from the Australian Business Register (ABR) and at that time changed its business register to a two population model. The two populations comprise what is called the Profiled Population and the Non-Profiled Population. The main distinction between businesses in the two populations relates to the complexity of the business structure and the degree of intervention required to reflect the business structure for statistical purposes.

Non-profiled population

26 The majority of businesses included on the ABSBR are in the Non-Profiled Population. Most of these businesses are understood to have simple structures. For these businesses, the ABS is able to use the Australian Business Number (ABN) as the basis for a statistical unit. One ABN equates to one statistical unit.

Profiled population

27 For a small number of businesses, the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS economic statistics purposes and the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with businesses. These businesses constitute the Profiled Population. This population typically consists of large or complex groups of businesses. The statistical units model below caters for such businesses:

  • Enterprise group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
     
  • Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
    • a single legal entity or business entity, or
    • more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) subsector).
       
  • Type of activity unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an enterprise group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.


28 Estimates of businesses at end June in this publication are based on the statistical units model that includes both the non-profiled and profiled populations. For some sub-populations such as commercial free-to-air broadcasters, which are characterised by large or complex groups of businesses. The estimates could be driven by changes in the groupings and profiling of business entities within the TAU, both of which are under constant review by the ABSBR.

Coverage issues

29 Each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to its single predominant industry class, irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken.

30 Some businesses engage, to a significant extent, in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. Where a business makes a significant economic contribution to industries classified to different ANZSIC subdivisions, the ABS includes the business in the Profiled Population, and 'splits' the TAU's reported data between the industries involved. Significance is determined using total income.

31 The ABS attempts to maintain a current understanding of the structure of the large, complex and diverse business groups that form the Profiled Population on the ABSBR, through direct contact with those businesses. Resultant changes in their structures on the ABSBR can affect:

  • the availability of such businesses (or units within them) for inclusion in the annual economic collections
  • the delineation of the units, within those groups, for which data are to be reported. 
     

32 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses selected for direct collection and which ceased operation during the year but it is not possible to obtain data for all such businesses.

Improvements to coverage

33 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size.

34 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates for the period in which they commenced operation, rather than when they were processed to the ABSBR.

35 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).

Data comparability

Comparison with other ABS statistics

36 Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0) publishes annual industry data for the Australian economy at the ANZSIC subdivision level. There are important differences between the statistics published in the Australian Industry and Film, Television and Digital Games publications, and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.

37 Australian Industry presents annual summary statistics at the ANZSIC division and subdivision level. It shows the relative performance of each industry division and subdivision, and allows patterns of change or growth to be analysed across particular segments of the Australian economy.

38 Film, Television and Digital Games supplements Australian Industry statistics with a detailed examination of the structure, performance and activity of businesses engaged in the activities of television broadcasting, film and video production or post-production and digital game development. As such, the collection is not designed to monitor change accurately over time.

39 These surveys use different industry coding practices. For Australian Industry, businesses are coded to ANZSIC classes on the basis of the activity reported to the ATO when registering for an ABN, or for more complex businesses, on the basis of information reported directly to the ABS (see coverage section above). For Film, Television and Digital Games, however, businesses are coded to ANZSIC classes 5511, 5514, 5621 and 5622 on the basis of detailed financial data reported in the collection. Adjustments were made to the data to remove the contribution of businesses that were found to be incorrectly coded to ANZSIC classes 5511, 5514, 5621 and 5622.

40 Businesses were also coded as Digital game developers on the basis of detailed financial data reported in the collection. As there is no unique ANZSIC category for digital game development services, a list of digital game development businesses was initially manually compiled by the ABS (see paragraphs 16-19 for more details). Adjustments were then made to remove the contributions of businesses that were found to be incorrectly coded as Digital game developers.

41 Other differences in results relate to further scope variations between the two collections. Non-employing units below the thresholds identified in paragraph 11 are excluded from the scope of Film, Television and Digital Games but included in the scope of Australian Industry.

Historical comparisons

42 While comparisons are made in this publication between 2015-16 and 2011-12, the reader should bear in mind that the collections were not designed to support accurate estimates of change, and exercise caution when comparing 2015-16 results to the 2011-12 results for several reasons, as described below.

Changes in scope

43 For the 2015-16 collection, emerging business primarily engaged in broadcasting over the internet were included in estimates for subscription broadcasters and channel providers. These businesses are predominantly classified to ANZSIC Class 5700 Internet publishing and broadcasting but were supplemented onto the ANZSIC 5622 frame. They were not included in the scope of the 2011-12 collection.

Changes in methodology

44 Users should exercise caution when comparing results to previous survey in 2011-12. For the 2015-16 survey a number of data items were expanded or grouped together to reflect the changing nature of the industry, and some items may not be directly comparable. For example the format of the data contained in the sources of income table for Digital game developers has two different categories from 2011-12:

  • an expanded total multiplatform game development category;
  • and a collapsed other income category that now includes royalties for digital games.
     

Australian international financial reporting standards

45 The Australian International Financial Reporting Standards (AIFRS) were progressively implemented in Australia from 1 January 2005. As a result, a number of items in the financial accounts of Australian businesses were affected by changed definitions at the time, which in turn affected both income and balance sheets. A range of ABS economic collections source data from financial accounts of businesses and use those data to derive economic statistics. There have been no changes in the associated economic definitions.

46 Since the implementation of AIFRS, analysis of published time series data has indicated structural breaks in series. The magnitude of such breaks, however, cannot be determined without imposing a disproportionate load upon data providers to ABS surveys and other administratively collected data. The ABS will continue to monitor developments and report any significant impacts as a result of AIFRS.

Survey design

47 A sample of 1,202 businesses was selected for the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey. Each business was asked to provide data sourced primarily from financial statements, mainly by online questionnaires. Businesses were also asked to supply key details of their operations by state and territory, enabling production of the state/territory estimates. Additionally for this survey, businesses were asked to provide selected measures of production activity, such as the number and type of productions and hours for which they were responsible.

Effects of rounding

48 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items. 

49 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.

Further information

50 A range of further information is available, as described below.

51 The following publications present economy-wide data:

Other information available

52 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on its web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

53 Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Acknowledgement

54 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Technical note - data quality

Reliability of the data

1 The estimates in this release are based on information obtained from the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, which relied in part on a sample survey design. Any collection of data may encounter factors that impact the reliability of the resulting statistics, regardless of the methodology used. These factors result in non-sampling error. In addition to non-sampling error, sample surveys are also subject to inaccuracies that arise from selecting a sample rather than conducting a census. This type of error is called sampling error.

Sampling error

2 Data for this publication was obtained using different selection methods obtained from a randomly selected, stratified sample of Film and video production and post-production businesses and also a census of two other populations: Broadcasters and channel providers, and Digital game developers. Consequently, estimates for Film and video production and post-production businesses are subject to sampling variability, that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if the data had been obtained from all businesses in the population. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error, which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of units was included. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if a census was conducted and approximately 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

3 Estimates related to the Broadcasters and channel providers population and Digital game developers population were based on a census of these businesses, and hence are not subject to sampling error.

4 Estimates of production activity for film, television and video are drawn from both the sample of Film and video production and post-production businesses, and also the census of Broadcasters and channel providers. Hence these estimates are also subject to sampling variability.

5 Sampling variability can also be measured by the relative standard error (RSE), which is obtained by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The RSE is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the percentage errors likely to have occurred due to the effects of random sampling, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate. The table below contains estimates of RSEs for a selection of the statistics presented in this publication.

6 The size of the RSE may be a misleading indicator of the reliability of the estimates for (a) operating profit before tax, (b) operating profit margin and (c) industry value added. It is possible for an estimate legitimately to include positive and negative values, reflecting the financial performance of individual businesses. In this case, the aggregated estimate can be small relative to the contribution of individual businesses, resulting in a standard error which is large relative to the estimate.

Relative standard errors, film, television and digital games(a)

 Film and video production and post-production businessesBroadcasters and channel providers(b)Digital game developers(b)
 Film and video production businessesFilm and video post-production businessesTotalTotalTotal
 %%%%%
Total employment
6.2
3.0
5.3
-
-
Total income
5.0
2.8
4.3
-
-
Total expenses
5.2
2.7
4.5
-
-
Industry value added
4.2
2.7
3.4
-
-
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. For scope and coverage details, see Explanatory Notes.
b. Estimates related to the Broadcasters and channel providers population and Digital game developers population were based on a census of these businesses, and hence are not subject to sampling error.


7 To illustrate, an estimate of total income for Film and video production businesses was $2,302.5m. The RSE was estimated to be 5.0%, giving a standard error of approximately $115.1m. Therefore, there are two chances in three that, if all units had been included in the survey, a figure in the range of $2,187.4m to $2,417.6m would have been obtained, and 19 chances in 20 (i.e. a confidence interval of 95%) that the figure would have been in the range of $2,072.3m to $2,532.7m.

8 The sampling variability for estimates at the state/territory level was generally higher than for Australian level aggregates. Survey estimates for states/territories should therefore be viewed with more caution than national estimates.

Non-sampling error

9 Errors other than those due to sampling may occur in any type of collection, whether a full census or a sample, and are referred to as non-sampling errors. All data presented in this publication are subject to non-sampling error. Non-sampling error can arise from inadequacies in available sources from which the population frame was compiled, imperfections in reporting by providers, errors made in collection, such as in recording and coding data, and errors made in processing data. It also occurs when information cannot be obtained from all businesses selected. The imprecision due to non-sampling variability cannot be quantified and should not be confused with sampling variability, which is measured by the standard error.

10 Although it is not possible to quantify non-sampling error, every effort is made to minimise it. Collection forms are designed to be easy to complete and assist businesses to report accurately. Efficient and effective operating procedures and systems are used to compile the statistics. The ABS compares data from different ABS (and non-ABS) sources relating to the one industry, to ensure consistency and coherence.

11 Differences in accounting policy and practices across businesses and industries can also lead to some inconsistencies in the data used to compile the estimates. Although much of the accounting process is subject to standards, there remains a great deal of flexibility available to individual businesses in the accounting policies and practices they adopt.

12 The above limitations are not meant to imply that analysis based on these data should be avoided, only that the limitations should be considered when interpreting the data. This publication presents a wide range of data that can be used to analyse business and industry performance. It is important that any analysis be based upon the range of data presented rather than focusing on one variable.

Reference period 

13 Where businesses were unable to supply data for the 12 months ended 30 June, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than those relating to employment.

Quality indicators

14 In the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, there was an 85.9% live response rate from all businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 14.1% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 2.5% to the estimate of total income.

Glossary

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Affiliation fees

Fees paid to television broadcasters from businesses with which they are affiliated.

Amortisation of programs or productions

The diminution in the value of productions and program rights over time (generally several years) occurring when productions or program rights are treated as capitalised expenses. The amortisation charge is expensed through the financial statements of the business and excludes program rights expensed during the financial year.

Animation

Visual editing services such as 2D and 3D animation. Includes animation services provided during post production on partly or completely animated productions, such as feature films, television programs and other productions.

Animation, computer generated imagery and visual effects technicians

Office-based production staff working primarily on special effects such as animation and computer generated imagery. Excludes visual effects technicians working on-set.

Broadcaster and channel providers

Broadcasters and channel providers operating on a profit-making basis and receiving the majority of their income from subscription fees for access to content or a set of channels containing pre-packaged programs ready for broadcasting, or for the sale of airtime. Also includes broadcasters who receive public funding for their operations. See Explanatory notes for scope and coverage.

Businesses at end June

The number of businesses operating at end June 2016. For the purposes of this survey, the term 'businesses' includes non-profit organisations.

Capitalised wages and salaries

Capitalised payment of wages and salaries and 'on-costs' paid to employees for work done by own employees in creating, manufacturing, constructing, installing or repairing assets including intellectual property, or in developing computer software in-house for use by the business or for rental or lease, including wages paid to own employees to project manage the development of the asset. 'On-costs' include employee entitlements such as superannuation, fringe benefits tax and workers' compensation.

Cast

All members with on-screen activity in a production including actors, on-screen presenters, extras, stand-ins and stunt performers.

​​​​​​​Casual

Persons employed on a non-permanent basis, including persons on fixed term contracts with employee entitlements.

Children's drama

Drama programs made specifically for children under the age of 14. See entry for Drama.

Children's programs

Television programs made specifically for children under the age of 14. Includes Children's drama and Other children's programs.

Cinematography

Activities related to the camera in filming: film stock, film speed, framing, camera movement and lighting.

Commercial broadcast hours

Airtime for completed first release programs, including time allocated for advertisements. Excludes program re-runs and the production time for commercials, program promotions and online content related to television productions.

Commercial free-to-air broadcasters

Commercial free-to-air television broadcasters licensed with the Australian Communications and Media Authority to broadcast. These businesses operate on a profit-making basis and generate the majority of their income from the sale of airtime.

Commercials and program promotions

Media produced to advertise a product or service to the general public. Includes station and program promotions, which may take the form of interstitial programs. Also includes community service announcements.

Computer programmers

Persons who develop and write computer software as part of the game development process.

Consoles

Dedicated gaming platforms such as the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox. Also includes handheld consoles such as Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS.

Corporate video

Media productions to meet a specific need for a corporate client, including media produced for targeted marketing and training purposes. Excludes commercials made for the general public (see entry for Commercials and program promotions).

Crew

On-set production support staff.

Depreciation and amortisation expenses

Depreciation and amortisation allowed on tangible and intangible assets. Includes, for lessees only, depreciation/amortisation in respect of finance leases.

Digital game development services

All aspects of digital game development and production (e.g. concept and art design, animation, audio, programming etc.), online game development services and post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) work on digital games.

Digital game development services income

Income from the provision of digital game development or production services to other businesses. Includes PDV work on digital games.

Digital game developers

Businesses that generate income predominantly from the development of digital games for a range of formats (consoles, handheld consoles, PC and Mac and mobile phones).

Digital games

Interactive software products made for the consumer entertainment market, involving a gameplay feature. Excludes products primarily designed for the purposes of training or advertising (these should be treated as other software applications).

Directors' fees

Fees received by directors of films which are predetermined prior to the commencement of the film. This income can be a combination of fees, commissions or profit sharing.

Documentaries

Films or programs that provide a creative treatment of actuality other than news and current affairs, sports coverage, infotainment or light entertainment programs. This item also includes short documentaries. It excludes dramatised documentaries and documentaries made for children.

Drama

Programs that have a fully or partially scripted screenplay in which the dramatic elements of character, theme and plot are introduced and developed to form a narrative structure. Includes programs in which actors deliver improvised dialogue based on a scripted outline. Also includes animated drama and dramatised documentaries. Note also that situation and sketch comedy is a subcategory of drama, although this excludes stand-up comedy programs and comedy sketches featured incidentally in other types of programs.

Drama and documentary production and post-production businesses

Film and video production or post-production businesses that derived or incurred income or production expenses in the survey reference period related to drama or documentary productions.

​​​​​​​Educational media

Media produced primarily for educational purposes. This includes media produced for schools, tertiary and other educational institutions, as well as for the general public.

Employment at end June

Number of persons working for businesses during the last pay period ending in June of the given year. Includes working proprietors and partners, employees absent on paid or prepaid leave, employees on workers' compensation who continue to be paid through the payroll, and contract workers paid through the payroll. Excludes persons paid by commission only, non-salaried directors, volunteers and self-employed persons such as consultants and contractors.

End-to-end digital game development income (excluding multiplatform)

Income earned from the end-to-end development and production of digital games during the reference period. Includes sales revenue (including pre-sales and advances from publishers and parent companies), unit sales, subscription and revenue from in-game purchasing and advertising, government funding received for the production of digital games and investment contributions from the public or private sector. Excludes development or production services provided to other businesses.

Executive producers, producers, line producers

Staff who spend the majority of their time in the role of executive producer, producer or line producer on the set of productions.

Executive producers' fees, producers' fees, line production

Executive producers' fees, producers' fees and income from line production as production services to other businesses.

Feature films

Films that are 60 minutes or longer in length, excluding documentaries and telemovies.

Film and video other than television programs

Film and video productions other than television programs. Excludes commercials and program promotions.

Film and video post-production businesses

Businesses mainly engaged in the provision of post-production services and other motion picture and video activities (including specialised motion picture or video post-production services).

Film and video production businesses

Businesses mainly engaged in producing motion pictures, videos, television programs and/or commercials and program promotions.

Film, television and video production services

Production services including executive producers' fees, producers' fees, line production, directors' fees, cinematography, rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew and other production services.

Game designers

Staff primarily working on the layout, concept and design of a game. This may include writing scripts, specifications or creating storyboards for digital games.

General business operations

Staff who spend the majority of their time working on general business operations. Includes managers and administrators, sales and marketing staff, IT support staff and accounting, legal and clerical staff. Excludes producers and production managers.

Gross income from the sale of airtime

Income from the sale of airtime or 'space' on television for the broadcasting of advertisers' commercials or sponsors' messages. Includes advertising sales revenue from subscription television channels.

Industry value added (IVA)

IVA is an estimate of the difference between the market value of the output of an industry and the purchases of materials and other intermediate input expenses incurred in the production of that output. For the purposes of this collection, all businesses are considered to be market producers.

For market producers, the derivation of IVA is as follows:

Sales and service income

plus

Funding from federal, state and/or local government for operational costs
Capital work done for own use
Change in inventories

less

Purchases of goods and materials
Other intermediate input expenses

equals

IVA

However, it should be noted that IVA is a measure of economic activity and is not equivalent to operating profit before tax (OPBT). Wage and salary expenses, and most other labour costs, are not subtracted from the IVA calculation, and neither are interest expenses, depreciation or a number of lesser expenses. On the income side, OPBT includes total income, whereas IVA only includes the sales and service income items mentioned above and government funding for operational costs.

Interest expenses

Includes interest paid on loans from banks, finance companies, partners, and related or unrelated businesses, and in respect of finance leases. Also includes interest equivalents such as hedging costs and expenses associated with discounted bills. Excludes bank charges other than interest, and capital repayments.

Labour costs

Comprises wages and salaries (including salary sacrificed earnings paid on behalf of employees and employee share based payments and stock options), employer contributions into superannuation, workers' compensation premiums/costs, fringe benefits tax and payroll tax. Excludes capitalised wages and salaries.

Light entertainment and variety

Includes infotainment, lifestyle, stand-up comedy, panel shows, variety, quiz and game, and reality television programs. Excludes programming made specifically for children (see entry for Other children's programs).

Middleware

Software that enables functionality of a digital game, but does not function as a game on its own. Includes game engines.

Mobile and web platforms

Games developed for mobile and web platforms such as iOS and Flash.

Multiplatform

Titles developed simultaneously for more than one of the following platforms: Console, handheld console, PC and Mac, Mobile and web platforms. Note that such titles are excluded from the individual categories for which they are developed.

News and current affairs

Programs reporting on current or recent happenings, including film coverage of international, national and local events, reports on weather and essential services. Also includes sports news bulletins, and programs which interpret events through interviews or discussion with acknowledged experts.

Non-online

Productions not defined as online. See entry for Online.

Office-based production staff

Production staff who are primarily based in the office. This includes animation, computer generated imagery and visual effects technicians, game designers, computer programmers, development staff, post-production staff and production managers. It excludes non-production staff.

Online

Productions that are made primarily for release on the internet. Excludes film, television and video productions that have a secondary release on the internet. Where the online production is part of a multi-platform project, it is considered to be a separate production from those released on other platforms (e.g. web series related to a television series).

On-set production staff

Staff who primarily work on the set of productions, such as cast and crew. Includes actors and on-screen presenters, extras, stand-ins, stunt performers and on-set support staff etc.

Operating profit before tax (OPBT)

Profit before extraordinary items are brought to account and prior to the deduction of income tax and appropriations to owners (e.g. dividends paid), i.e. total income less total expenses plus change in inventories.

Operating profit margin

The percentage of sales and service income available as operating profit before tax (OPBT), i.e. (OPBT divided by sales and service income) multiplied by 100.

Other children's programs

Non-drama television programs made specifically for children under the age of 14. See entry for Drama.

Other labour costs

All staff related costs (including monies paid directly through the payroll to freelancers without an ABN), excluding wages and salaries. See entry for Labour costs.

Other production and post-production businesses

Film and video production or post-production businesses without income or production expenses in the survey reference period related to drama or documentary productions.

​​​​​​​Other post-production, digital and visual effects services income

Income from the provision of PDV services including income from duplication, transferring, film laboratory and other PDV services not already included in visual editing or sound editing.

Other production services income

Income from the provision of production services to other businesses not already included in executive producers' fees, producers' fees and line production, directors' fees, cinematography or the rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew.

Other television programs production income

Income from productions made primarily for broadcast on television not separately itemised.

Payments to other businesses/contractors for selected services

Payments made to related and unrelated businesses and self-employed contractors for selected services. This includes payments for the following items defined separately: Film, television and video production services; Post-production, digital and visual effects services for film, television and video; Digital game development services; Web development services. See the relevant items listed separately.

PC and Mac

Games developed for personal computer formats. Includes massively multi-player online role playing games played on personal computers.

Permanent full-time

Persons employed on a permanent basis who usually work 35 hours or more per week.

Permanent part-time

Persons employed on a permanent basis who usually work less than 35 hours per week.

Post-production, digital and visual effects services for film, television and video

Includes computer generated special effects services, animation services and the rental of PDV facilities and/or equipment with crew.

Post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) services income

Income earned from the provision of post-production, digital and visual effects services to other businesses. These include visual editing, sound editing, duplication, transferring, film laboratory and other PDV services.

Productions

Film, video and digital game projects either underway or completed during the survey reference period. Excludes projects that did not progress past the development stage.

Production costs

Expenses incurred by a business for film, television, video or digital game production during the reference period including amounts that have been capitalised. Includes all production costs, associated with development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs. Excludes costs associated with projects for which a business provided freelance production or post-production services to another business responsible for undertaking the production.

Production staff

Staff who spend the majority of their time working on productions. This includes on-set and office-based production staff.

​​​​​​​Production income

All income received during the reference period from production activity. Includes government funding received for production of film, television and video, investment contributions from the public or private sector, license fees received as financing for a production, sales revenue (including advances and pre-sales), minimum guarantee payments and fees received from agencies or clients for the production of commercials and/or other video. Excludes royalties income or income derived from program format rights and income associated with projects for which the business provided freelance production or post-production services to another business responsible for undertaking the production.

Production income and royalties

Includes Production income and Royalties income related to film, television and video productions.

Program rights expensed

Program rights purchased via a licence arrangement from the copyright owner, for a specified period and/or number of screenings. Programs that are licensed for a single screening, such as series and game shows, are treated as current expenses.

Production services income

Income earned from the provision of production services to other businesses. Includes executive producers' fees, producers' fees, line production, directors' fees, cinematography, rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew and other production services.

Public broadcasters

Television broadcasters that operate on a 'not-for-profit' basis and whose main source of income is from government funding.

Purchases

Comprises purchases of materials, components, containers and packaging materials for manufacture or construction, and purchases of finished goods for resale. Excludes delivery charges separately invoiced or itemised by suppliers and capitalised purchases.

Rent, leasing and hiring expenses

The costs of the rent, leasing (excluding finance leases) and hiring of vehicles, land, buildings, machinery, equipment and any other property from other businesses or individuals. Includes operating lease payments and rental of facilities and/or equipment without crew.

​​​​​​​Rent, leasing and hiring income

Income derived from the ownership of land, dwellings, buildings and other structures, motor vehicles, plant, machinery and other equipment. Excludes royalties from mineral leases, income from finance leases and payments received under hire purchase arrangements and rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew.

Rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew (income)

Income received from other businesses for renting facilities or equipment that come with crew. Excludes the income from renting facilities or equipment without crew.

Royalties expenses

Payments made for the use of rights or intellectual property of another business or individual. Includes payments under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights, including music and literary rights and payments for the use of program format rights. Excludes program rights expensed and expensed computer software license fees.

Royalties income

Income earned by a business for the use of rights or intellectual property that it owns, including feature films, television programs and digital games. This includes payments under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights and income derived from program format rights. It excludes licence fees received as financing for a production, which are considered to be production income.

Salaried directors

Directors of incorporated businesses are directors who received a wage or salary during the reference period. Salaried directors are considered to be employees of the business.

Selected broadcasting expenses

Selected broadcasting related expenses including broadcasting licence fees, affiliation fees, payments to other businesses for the provision of television channels and commissions paid to advertising agencies or brokers for the sale of airtime.

Short films

Films that are shorter than 60 minutes in length, excluding documentaries and telemovies. Includes short features, defined as 45-55 minutes in length.

Sound editing

The process of arranging a film's soundtrack to decide its final order and content. During this process pre-recorded sound can also be manipulated or changed to be more suitable for the final product.

Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV)

A Special Purpose Vehicle is a business created specifically to capture activities related to a single production (e.g. feature film or television series).

Sport

Live or delayed first release broadcast for competitive sport, and programs such as sporting previews, summaries, and talk in which replays of events are incidental. Excludes sports news bulletins (see entry for News and current affairs).

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers

Commercial television broadcasters operating on a profit-making basis and receiving the majority of their income from subscription fees, and businesses primarily engaged in providing subscription television broadcasters with access to a channel or set of channels containing pre-packaged programs ready for broadcasting. Some of these businesses are also involved in producing television content.

Subscription fees

Fees paid by viewers to subscription television broadcasters for access to a set of channels. Includes subscriber revenue from the provision of subscription television channels.

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)

A content model where customers pay a fee and are then provided with access to a selection of movies, television programs and other audio-visual content streamed over the internet to certain internet connected devices.

Television documentaries

Documentaries made specifically for television. See entry for Documentaries.

Television programs

Productions made primarily for broadcast on television.

Total income

The sum of all income components.

Total expenses

The sum of all expense components.

Visual editing

The process of cutting and arranging a film to decide its final order, content and presentation. Includes animation, visual effects, subtitling and other types of visual editing.

Visual effects

The process of adding visual effects to a production.

Wages and salaries

The gross wages and salaries (excluding capitalised wages and salaries) of all employees of the business. The item includes severance, termination and redundancy payments, salaries and fees of directors and executives, retainers and commissions of persons who received a retainer, bonuses, and annual and other types of leave. Provision expenses for employee entitlements (e.g. provisions for annual leave and leave bonus, long service leave, sick leave, and severance, termination and redundancy payments) are also included, as are salary sacrificed earnings and remuneration of employees in the form of share based payments and stock options. Payments related to self-employed persons such as consultants, contractors and persons paid solely by commission without a retainer are excluded. The drawings of working proprietors and partners are also excluded.

Web development services

Includes adapting or enhancing of video content for mobile or web platforms and development of complementary online media (e.g. web apps, social media integration etc.). It excludes development or maintenance of a business's corporate website and online game development services.

Web series

Episodic content created for online consumption that forms part of a web series or a television series. Includes episodic content created specifically for mobile consumption (mobisodes).

Working proprietors and partners

A working proprietor of an unincorporated business operates his or her own business (sole proprietorship) while a partner, along with one or more other partners, operates a partnership.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from data collected from a sample of Australian businesses primarily engaged in film or video production and post-production services and a census of Australian businesses primarily engaged in providing television broadcasting services, subscription channel provision and digital games development. The collection was conducted as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business survey program for the 2015–16 reference year. The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 provides for the ATO to pass information to the Australian Statistician for the purposes of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Please refer to ABS Institutional Environment for more information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations. For more information about the institutional environment of the ATO, please refer to Part 3 Management and accountability in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2015-16.

Relevance

The main purpose of this collection was to measure the income and expenses, size and structure and production activity of businesses in the film, television and digital game development industries in Australia during the 2015-16 financial year.

Statistics of particular interest include:

  • the number of commercial first-release broadcast hours of television produced
  • production costs
  • sources of income
  • items of expenditure
  • employment data
  • state/territory data.


Government policy in this area has two aims: industry development (economic), and social/cultural objectives (e.g. the development of local product). The economic data in this collection enable governments and policy analysts to track the progress of industry development initiatives and to evaluate the performance of core funded agencies, with cultural industries being subsidised by Commonwealth and State governments in various ways (e.g. tax incentives, direct grants).

Timeliness

Collection questionnaires were mailed to a sample of production and post-production businesses and to all television broadcasters, subscription channel providers and digital game development businesses in mid-August 2016. The estimates are scheduled for release in June 2017, almost twelve months after the end of the reference period.

Accuracy

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into collection and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing. Estimates were produced using number raised estimation methodology with a sample of 1,055 production and post-production services businesses, and a census of 55 commercial free-to-air, subscription and public television broadcasters and subscription television channel content providers and 92 digital games developers. Note that the business counts published in this publication are not the same as the number of businesses surveyed due to businesses ceasing trading during the financial year or having been deemed as out of scope.

For this collection, non-sampling error may result from such things as deficiencies in reporting and/or errors made in compiling results. The extent to which non-sampling error affected the results of the collection is not precisely quantifiable. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of collection analysts and efficient data processing procedures. Additionally, to ensure the accuracy of the estimates produced, the data have been checked against previous collection results and other sources, including contact with providers.

There was an 85.9% live response rate from all production and post-production services businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 14.1% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 2.5% to the estimate of total income.

Coherence

The ABS has been conducting collections of film and video production and post-production businesses periodically since 1993–94, television broadcasters since 1996-97 and digital games developers since 2006-07. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the collections, sound collection practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, a collection's relevance to the changing needs of users, and the efficiency of the collection. Additionally, given the irregular frequency of these collections, they are not primarily designed to monitor change over time.

Caution should be used when referencing historical data. Changes made to these collections over time include changes in scope, concepts, data item definitions and classifications. For a full list of changes made between the 2011-12 and the 2015-16 collections, refer to the Explanatory Notes of Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia (cat. no. 8679.0).

Interpretability

The estimates from the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey are only available as original series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted. Although financial estimates in this publication relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2016, or the last pay period of the month specified. As such, estimates of values per person employed can be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period. This is particularly relevant when assessing film and video production and post-production estimates owing to fluctuations in employment caused by the project-based nature of film and video production activities.

Further information on terminology and other technical aspects associated with statistics from the Film, Television and Digital Games Collection can be found in the publication Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia (cat. no. 8679.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes and Glossary.

Accessibility

Data from the Television, Film and Video Production and Post-Production Services Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the ABS website are:

  • main features which include key findings commentary
  • data cubes (spreadsheets). These include: summary of operations by state; origin of income related to productions; and tables providing detailed summaries of financial and employment data by industry.


Customised data may be available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors and, in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised or not available for release. Inquiries can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Abbreviations

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'000thousand
$'000thousand dollars
$mmillion dollars
$bbillion (thousand million) dollars
ABNAustralian Business Number
ABRAustralian Business Register
ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ABSBRAustralian Bureau of Statistics Business Register
ACMAAustralian Communications and Media Authority
AIFRSAustralian International Financial Reporting Standards
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
ATOAustralian Taxation Office
BASBusiness Activity Statement
IVAIndustry Value Added
no.number
OPBTOperating Profit Before Tax
OPMOperating Profit Margin
PDVPost-production, Digital and Visual effects
RSERelative Standard Error
SEStandard Error
SPVSpecial Purpose Vehicle
SVODSubscription Video-on-Demand
TAUType of Activity Unit