The statistical information on this site may not be the latest. For the most up to date information visit the ABS website abs.gov.au

Latest release

Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia

TV broadcasting, video production and post-production, digital game development: employment, income, expenses, profitability and production activity

Reference period
2015 - 2016

Main features

Key findings

  • Total income for Subscription broadcasters and channel providers ($5,352.1m), including subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), exceeded that of Commercial free-to-air broadcasters ($3961.4m) in 2015-16.
     
  • Total production costs for film, television and videos were $3,436.1m in 2015-16, an increase of 15.5% compared to 2011-12. This increase was driven by Broadcasters and channel providers who saw growth of 44.9% as they completed greater numbers of productions and broadcast hours.
     
  • Film and video production businesses recorded slight increases in all key data items from 2011-12. The increase in total income of 4.9% was driven by increased feature film production income and by income from production services provided to other businesses such as broadcasters.
     
  • Film and video post-production businesses reported operating profit before tax (OPBT) of $48.1m in 2015-16, driven by a 20.9% increase in total income from 2011-12. These businesses provide services such as animation, visual effects and sound editing, from which 37.5% of income was sourced from overseas businesses in 2015-16.
     
  • Digital game developers have reported total income of $111.1m in 2015-16, despite a fall in the number of digital game productions from 245 to 178 since 2011-12. Digital game developers are producing more sophisticated mobile and web platform games with the average cost for this production type rising from $74,000 in 2011-12 to $337,500 in 2015-16.


More detailed estimates are included in the data cube tables accompanying this publication on the Data downloads section. Please note that all financial estimates are expressed in current prices.

Regarding comparability of this data with the previous issue from 2011-12, please refer to Methodology - Explanatory notes - paragraphs 42-44.

Summary of operations

  2011-122015-16
Film and video production businesses
Businesses at end June (a)no.
2 412
2 819
Employment at end June (b)no.
13 414
14 638
Total income$m
2 194.2
2 302.5
Total expenses$m
2 012.0
2 120.8
Operating profit before tax (c)$m
^180.9
^198.5
Operating profit margin (c)%
^8.2
^8.8
Industry value added (c)$m
929.9
996.3
Film and video post-production businesses
Businesses at end June (a)no.
361
414
Employment at end June (b)no.
2 346
2 462
Total income$m
329.6
398.5
Total expenses$m
331.2
350.6
Operating profit before tax (c)$m
**-2.9
48.1
Operating profit margin (c)%
**-0.9
12.2
Industry value added (c)$m
180.8
268.3
Commercial free-to-air broadcasters
Businesses at end June (a)no.
24
14
Employment at end June (b)no.
7 856
8 012
Total income$m
4 657.9
3 961.4
Total expenses$m
3 660.4
3 559.0
Operating profit before tax (c)$m
996.9
420.4
Operating profit margin (c)%
21.5
10.6
Industry value added (c)$m
2 232.9
1 795.6
Subscription broadcasters and channel providers
Businesses at end June (a)no.
36
32
Employment at end June (b)no.
5 474
5 416
Total income$m
4 654.3
5 352.1
Total expenses$m
4 157.4
4 959.8
Operating profit before tax (c)$m
515.1
493.0
Operating profit margin (c)%
11.5
9.2
Industry value added (c)$m
1 568.3
2 205.2
Digital game developers
Businesses at end June (a)no.
84
80
Employment at end June (b)no.
581
734
Total income$m
89.4
111.1
Total expenses$m
80.1
86.6
Operating profit before tax (c)$m
9.3
24.5
Operating profit margin (c)%
10.5
22.0
Industry value added (c)$m
71.6
93.8
^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error of greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
a. See the Scope and Statistical units sections of the Methodology for details of the model used to represent these businesses.
b. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
c. See Technical Note in Methodology on Data Quality, paragraph 6.

Financial activity

This section summarises the key financial data of the businesses surveyed, with comparisons to results from the previous survey in 2011-12 where applicable. These data are expressed in current prices and can be found in data cubes 1 and 3-5. Data are summarised for five groups of businesses.

  • Film and video production businesses
  • Film and video post-production businesses
  • Commercial free-to-air broadcasters
  • Subscription broadcasters and channel providers
  • Digital game developers
     

Film, television and digital games - key data by population, 2011-12 and 2015-16

Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
Download
Download
Download

Film and video production and post-production businesses

During the reference period film and video production and post-production businesses combined generated $2,701.0m in income. Operating profit before tax of these businesses was $246.6m.

The largest source of income for film and video production and post-production businesses was production income and royalties ($1,719.9m or 63.7%), though this has fallen from 2011-12 levels ($1,813.6m or 71.9%). Growing sources of total income are post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) services income at $428.4m (or 15.9%) and production services income at $384.0m (or 14.2%). Production services income includes the provision of services such as the rental of facilities and equipment with crew, producers, directors, cinematographers and line production to other businesses. Film and video production and post-production businesses earn most of their PDV services income on two formats, feature films ($215.8m) and commercials and program promotions ($118.5m).

In 2015-16 film and video production businesses generated $2,302.5m in income and incurred $2,120.8m in expenses. Industry value added was $996.3m, an increase of 7.1% since 2011-12.

Television program production income represents 33.2% of total income for film and video production businesses (or $765.5m), followed by feature films production income at 18.6% (or $429.0m) and production services income at 15.8% (or $363.7m). The latter is among the fastest growing sources of income in part due to increased demand from broadcasters and channel providers who are undertaking an increasing amount of production in-house. Compared to 2011-12 film and video production businesses experienced an increase in production services income of 43.1%.

Film and video production businesses experienced a fall in income from television programs production of $182.7m compared to 2011-12, which was partially offset by an increase in production income from feature films of $94.5m. Reasons for the increase in feature film production income include the role of foreign features as suggested by the increase in income sourced from overseas for production income.

Total expenses for film and video production businesses increased by 5.4% from 2011-12, largely driven by an increase of $87.1m in labour costs. For these businesses operating profit before tax and operating profit margins were both slightly up on 2011-12 at $198.5m and 8.8% respectively.

New South Wales is notable when it comes to the contribution of its film and video production businesses, making up a majority of Australia level estimates for total income (58.7%).

In 2015-16 film and video post-production businesses generated $398.5m in income and incurred $350.6m in expenses. Industry value added was $268.3m which was an increase of 48.4% since 2011-12, highlighting the growing economic contribution of these businesses. Similarly operating profit before tax totalled $48.1m, a turnaround from the $2.9m loss incurred in 2011-12. Major sources of film and video post-production businesses total income include visual effects (31.2%), animation (19.8%) and other visual editing services (20.1%) such as subtitling.

Origin of income, by production type, 2015-16

Download
  1. Australian governments includes funding from federal, state and territory governments.
  2. Excludes income from royalties.
Download
  1. Australian governments includes funding from federal, state and territory governments
Download
  1. Australian governments includes funding from federal, state and territory governments
Download
  1. Australian governments includes funding from federal, state and territory governments.
  2. Excludes income from royalties.

Commercial free-to-air broadcasters

During 2015-16 commercial free-to-air broadcasters generated $3,961.4m in income and incurred $3,559.0m in expenses. Total industry value added was $1,795.6m. All key financial measures decreased in comparison to 2011-12, though the fall in income (15.0%) was greater than the fall in expenses (2.8%), in part due to the rise in total labour costs of 20.4%. Reasons for the increase in labour costs include the increase in employment required for expanded digital platforms and offerings. Commercial free-to-air broadcasters generated $420.4m in operating profit before tax in 2015-16, a decrease of 57.8% from the 2011-12 period.

During 2015-16 commercial free-to-air broadcasters generated the majority of their income (86.0% or $3,406.6m) from gross sale of airtime, though this is less than the $3,681.5m derived in 2011-12 due to among other things the challenging advertising market for traditional media in 2015-16.

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers generated $5,352.1m in income and incurred $4,959.8m in expenses in 2015-16. Total industry value added was $2,205.2m, an increase of 40.6% in the economic contribution of these businesses since 2011-12.

The total income of subscription broadcasters and channel providers, which includes subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) businesses, was 35.1% higher than the total income for commercial free-to-air broadcasters. The main source of income for subscription broadcasters and channel providers was subscription fees at $4,239.3m (or 79.2% of total income). The increase in total income of 15.0% from 2011-12 was offset by the increase in total expenses of 19.3%, leading to a small fall (4.3%) in operating profit before tax to $493.0m in 2015-16. Among the significant expenditure items were program rights expensed, which totalled $604.4m, and exceeded the total amount of labour costs ($567.6m) in 2015-16.

Digital game developers

Digital game developers generated $111.1m in total income in 2015-16, an increase of 24.3% on 2011-12. The largest sources of income were end-to-end digital game development income (excluding Multiplatform) at 40.1% (or $44.6m) and digital game development services income (excluding Multiplatform) at 30.6% (or $34.0m). Multiplatform development accounted for 7.5% (or $8.3m) of total income. Digital game developers reported a combined $86.9m in income from these sources.

Victoria accounted for the majority of digital game developers activity, contributing 56.9% of total Australia level income.

Production activity

This section summarises the production of film, television, video and digital game content that occurred during the reference period. These data can be found in the 'Production activity' data cube in the Data downloads section.

The volume of production activity is measured as follows:

  • Number of broadcast hours (for television programs)
  • Number of productions (for film and video other than television programs, and for digital games)
  • Total cost of production (for all types of production).


It should be noted that total production costs are not equivalent to total expenses. Refer to the Glossary for details.

The following graph summarises the production costs for types of production.

Download

Production of film, television and video

During 2015-16, all businesses (excluding digital game developers) incurred $3,436.1m in production costs for total film, television and video content. These costs included development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs. Of these production costs, television programs and feature films accounted for 73.4% (or $2,522.8m) and 15.0% (or $513.9m) respectively.

Broadcasters and channel providers incurred 55.2% (or $1,895.4m) of the total production costs for total film, television and video content. This is an increase from the 2011-12 share of 44.0% (or $1,308.1m) of total production costs, and a sign of more programming and production being moved in-house by broadcasters and channel providers. This is particularly the case for television programs, where despite overall production costs increasing by $423.3m since 2011-12, the production costs incurred by film and video production and post-production businesses actually fell by $133.8m. Consequently the share of total television program production costs recorded by these businesses has fallen from 39.4% to 27.5% over that time period. In terms of production types, sports programming contributed the most at $909.9m (or 36.1%) to total production costs for television programs in 2015-16.

During 2015-16 there were 87,466 commercial broadcast hours for first release television programs, an increase of 11.2% compared to 2011-12. News and current affairs programs accounted for the largest proportion of these hours with 50,160 (or 57.3%).

The average cost per hour graph below indicates the variability in the average cost per hour by production type for television. Drama and children's drama incurred the highest average cost per hour with $645,700 and $476,100 respectively, with the average cost of drama increasing by 15.2% since 2011-12. By contrast, average production costs per hour for news and current affairs was $11,900, with light entertainment and variety costing $91,900 on average per hour.

Production of television programs, by production type, 2015-16(a)

Download
  1. Excludes commercials and program promotions.
  2. Includes situation and sketch comedy.
  3. Includes quiz, panel and game shows.
  4. Number of commercial broadcast hours and average cost per hour for Sport and Other television programs are not available for publication, but have been included in totals where applicable.
Download
  1. Excludes commercials and program promotions.
  2. Includes situation and sketch comedy.
  3. Includes quiz, panel and game shows.
  4. Number of commercial broadcast hours and average cost per hour for Sport and Other television programs are not available for publication, but have been included in totals where applicable.
Download
  1. Excludes commercials and program promotions.
  2. Includes situation and sketch comedy.
  3. Includes quiz, panel and game shows.
  4. Number of commercial broadcast hours and average cost per hour for Sport and Other television programs are not available for publication, but have been included in totals where applicable.
  5. Includes only completed hours. See Glossary for further information.


During 2015-16 all businesses (excluding digital game developers) incurred $683.1m in related production costs for film and video productions other than television programs and commercials. Feature films accounted for the majority of these costs with 75.2% (or $513.9m). Online productions accounted for total production costs of $93.6m (or 13.7%), an increase from the $5.5m (or 0.9%) reported in 2011-12. The increase in online production costs is driven by increased volumes of corporate videos and educational media that tend to be delivered through digital platforms. Also contributing to the increase in online production costs are costs associated with web series created for online consumption, which contributed $19.3m in 2015-16.

During 2015-16 there were 22,175 first release productions for film and video other than television and commercials. This is a large increase of 196.9% compared to 2011-12 and is being driven by corporate videos which are up by 143.9%, with reasons for the increase including the proliferation of corporate promotion and content marketing through new and cheaper mediums.

Production of film and video other than television programs, by production type, 2015-16(a)

Download
  1. Excludes commercials and program promotions.
  2. Includes short documentaries.
  3. Episodic content created for online consumption that forms part of a web series or television series.
Download
  1. Excludes commercials and program promotions.
  2. Includes short documentaries.
  3. Episodic content created for online consumption that forms part of a web series or television series.

Production of digital games

During 2015-16 digital game developers produced 178 digital games and incurred $52.0m in related production costs. The average cost per production of digital games varied by format.

Digital games produced for mobile and web platforms incurred the largest share of production costs at 63.7% of total production costs; with digital games produced for this format recording a large increase in the average cost per production from $74,000 in 2011-12 to $337,500 in 2015-16. Games produced exclusively for consoles (including handheld consoles) incurred the highest average cost per production ($372,200). By contrast, games developed exclusively for PC and Mac platforms had the lowest average cost per production ($93,800). These figures exclude titles developed simultaneously for multiplatforms, which incurred an average cost of $251,100 per production.

Production of digital games, by production type, 2015-16

Download
  1. Includes handheld consoles.
Download
  1. Includes handheld consoles.
Download
  1. Includes handheld consoles.

Employment activity

This section summarises the key employment data of the businesses surveyed, with comparisons to results from the previous survey in 2011-12 where applicable. Employment figures are at a point in time at end June 2016 and on a headcount basis. These data can be found in data cubes 1 and 3-5.

Key employment data, 2015-16(a)

Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.

Film and video production businesses

Film and video production businesses employed 14,638 people at end June 2016. This is an increase from end June 2012 of 9.1% and aligns with the increase in wages of 15.3% over the same period. The largest type of employees for film and video production businesses were casuals who made up 39.4% of total employees (or 5,767 people), followed by permanent full-time employees at 32.6% of all employees (or 4,766 people). Film and video production businesses employed 58.0% men and 42.0% women at end June 2016.

Film and video post-production businesses

Film and video post-production businesses employed 2,462 people at end June 2016, an increase from end June 2012 of 4.9%. At end June 2016 permanent full-time employees made up 67.1% of all employees (or 1,652 people). Casual employees increased by 41.1% compared to 2011-12 and now make up 8.4% of total employees. Film and video post-production businesses employed 72.2% men and 27.8% women at end June 2016.

Commercial free-to-air broadcasters

Commercial free-to-air broadcasters businesses employed 8,012 people at end June 2016, an increase from end June 2012 of 2.0%. At end June 2016 permanent full-time employees made up 63.6% of all employees (or 5,098 people). The proportion of full time permanent employees decreased from 69.5% to 63.6% since end of June 2012 and the proportion of casual employees increased during this period from 25.8% to 30.7% of total employees. Commercial free-to-air broadcasters employed 55.8% men and 44.2% women at end June 2016.

Commercial free-to-air broadcasters continue to employ large numbers of on-set production staff with 747 people employed as cast and 1,555 people employed as crew at end June 2016. This is an increase of total on-set production staff of 11.0% since 2011-12 and aligns with their increase in in-house production activity.

Employment at end June, by occupation type, 2015-16(a)(b)

Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
  2. Persons are categorised to the activity on which they spend the majority of their time.
Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
  2. Persons are categorised to the activity on which they spend the majority of their time.
Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
  2. Persons are categorised to the activity on which they spend the majority of their time.
Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
  2. Persons are categorised to the activity on which they spend the majority of their time.
Download
  1. Includes working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
  2. Persons are categorised to the activity on which they spend the majority of their time.

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers

Subscription broadcasters and channel providers employed 5,416 people at end June 2016, a decrease from end June 2012 of 1.1%. At end June 2016 permanent full-time employees made up 73.7% of all employees (or 3,994 people). The proportion of permanent full time employees has increased from 64.3% since end June 2012 and the proportion of casual employees decreased during this period from 26.7% to 16.0% of total employees. Subscription broadcasters and channel providers employed 54.3% men and 45.7% women at end June 2016.

Digital game developers

Digital games developers employed 734 people at end June 2016, an increase from end June 2012 of 26.3%. At end June 2016 permanent full-time employees made up 79.0% of all employees (or 580 people). Digital game developers employ highly specialised production staff such as animation, computer generated imagery and visual effects technicians, game designers and computer programmers. These three occupation groups make up 68.3% of total employment.

There has been a increase in the number of females employed by Digital game developers from 51 at end June 2012 to 110 at end June 2016. Females have also increased as a percentage of employment for Digital game developers from 8.7% at end June 2012 to 15.0% at end June 2016.

Data downloads

Summary of operations

Production activity

Film and video production and post-production businesses

Broadcasters and channel providers

Digital game developers