Monday, 10 February 2020: The Australian screen sector has overcome unprecedented industry disruption to post strong growth in the last five years on record, with overall economic output climbing 13 per cent to $22.5 billion, a new report has found.
The report, commissioned by the Australia New Zealand Screen Association, found digital disruption had forced painful adjustments across the sector, particularly in physical home entertainment, where the mass closure of video rental stores drove a six per cent fall in overall jobs across the sector from 2012-13.
But at the same time, the Australian screen industry’s agile response to digitisation also delivered new and higher quality jobs, with “value added” roles in production and video-on-demand (VOD) distribution emerging.
“This growth is a strong example of the industry’s quick and efficient response to the digital disruption,” Jonathan Olsberg, chairman of report author Olsberg SPI, said.
“After a painful period of adjustment, the Australian screen industry is now well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities on a global stage. It now has a more streamlined distribution model and greater ‘value add’ – and this has real economic benefits for consumers, who can now access more great Australian and international content for less than ever before.”
Overall, the economic contribution of every person employed in the Australian screen sector increased 23 per cent in the five years since 2012-13, the Study on the Economic Contribution of the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Australia found.
Australian New Zealand Screen Association CEO Paul Muller said the new report was proof Australian screen producers and creatives were among the best in the world.
But he warned Australia was facing increasingly fierce global competition for investment.
“Our industry has always punched above its weight in the global arena, and after some tough adjustments, it’s exciting to see Australian consumers and producers benefiting from the opportunities of digitisation,” Muller said.
“Of course, that’s not just happening in Australia but around the world. Given how small the population of Australia is relative to the rest of the world, the sector is well positioned to increase foreign investment in Australian stories, provided government incentives are competitive with those offered by countries such as the UK and New Zealand, or US states such as Georgia and New York.”
Muller noted that production activity in Australia dropped in 2016-17, after the removal of the federal government’s discretionary “top up” program of incentives for international shoots.
It recovered again in 2018-19, with a flurry of activity triggered by a new Location Incentive. But industry leaders remain concerned by the capped nature of the scheme.
Matchbox Pictures COO Matt Vitins said the location grants and incentives offered by Australian federal and state governments were critical to maintaining Australia’s attractiveness when investors considered where to make their next productions.
“The Australian production industry has a big role to play in global television,” Vitins said.
“The location incentive has been essential to us setting up international television projects here in Australia. The extension or expiry of the scheme will have a big role to play in whether or not we see more premium international drama shoot here.
“It is incredibly exciting to see the projects that have landed with the support of the location incentive – our own Clickbait is front of mind. We must keep up this momentum.”
Download the full report: Study on the Economic Contribution of the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Australia.
Review an infographic summary of the key findings.