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Spending by subscription video on demand providers 2020–21

Four subscription video on demand (SVOD) providers – Amazon Prime, Disney, Netflix, and Stan – spent $178.9 million in the 2020–21 financial year on 1,765 Australian programs.

These are programs that meet minimum requirements for key creative roles, including producers, directors, writers and cast.

SVOD providers commissioned or co-commissioned 22 new Australian programs. These programs accounted for more than half of the expenditure on Australian programs (58% down from 80% in 2019–20). These new Australian programs included Bump (Stan), Back to the Rafters (Amazon), Surviving Summer (Netflix) and Mr Inbetween, series 3 (Disney). The remaining expenditure included the costs of acquiring 1,743 Australian programs.

SVOD providers’ expenditure on Australian programs increased more than $25 million from 2019–20. Key changes in expenditure include the acquisition of sports programs for the first time in 2020–21 and an increase in acquired and commissioned Australian drama programs. Spending on Australian children’s drama and non-drama programs was down compared to 2019–20.

SVOD providers’ contributions supported production of Australian programs across a range of genres, with all providers commissioning or acquiring Australian drama ($94.8 million) and Australian documentaries ($17.3 million).

SVOD providers also support the production of content made in Australia in ways other than commissioning or acquiring Australian programs. In 2020–21, providers spent $450 million on acquiring, producing or investing in 12 Australian-related programs. These are titles that meet some but not all of the criteria of an ‘Australian program’. Their contributions supported production of programs such as The Wilds, season 2 (Amazon), Pieces of Her (Netflix) and Nine Perfect Strangers (Disney).

Australian programs available in Australia

At 30 June 2021, there were 2,030 Australian program titles (6,019 hours) available on the 4 SVOD services. This is an increase from the 782 Australian programs (3,586 hours) available at 31 December 2020 and the 618 Australian programs (3,080 hours) available at 30 June 2020.

Table 1 shows the number of titles and hours by all SVOD providers by genre at 30 June each year.

Table 1: Australian programs made available on services in Australia at 30 June 2020 and 30 June 2021, by genre

  2020–21   2019–20  
  Hours* Titles/Events Hours Titles/Events
No genre provided** 1,403 197 1,313 204
Australian drama 1,740 412 1,159 261
Australian children’s drama 233 39 242 40
Australian children’s
non-drama
176 52 129 34
Australian documentary 152 56 116 40
Australian other programming 155 39 82 18
Australian light entertainment 59 24 41 21
Australian sport 2,101 1,211 0 0
Total 6,019 2,030 3,080 618

* Durations are rounded to the nearest hour.

Each program series of non-sport is considered a title. For sport, each event/match is reported as a title.

**: SVOD providers were unable to provide a detailed breakdown of genres of some Australian programs.

Figure 1: Hours of Australian programs made available on SVOD services in Australia at 30 June 2020 and 30 June 2021, by genre (excluding where genre is not available)

SVOD 2020-21

Australian programs outside Australia

SVOD providers also reported the number of Australian programs made available on services outside Australia (Table 2). The regions reported by providers varied:

  • all providers reported on Australian programs available in Canada, Spain, UK and the US.
  • 3 providers reported on programs available in France.
  • 2 providers reported on programs available in Brazil, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and Mexico.

Data for countries where only one SVOD provider reported Australian programs has not been included in Table 2. This includes data for Argentina, China, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore and Sweden. Some providers reported in aggregated regions (for example, Benelux and Latin America), which have also not been included.

Table 2: Australian programs made available on SVOD services outside Australia at 30 June 2021

 

US

Canada

UK

France

Spain

Germany

Japan

Mexico

Brazil

Italy

India

Number of Australian program titles

626

530

515

185

182

181

162

161

155

106

42

Total hours of Australian programs

4,182

4,182

4,280

1,051

1,116

1,055

646

812

742

568

221

Figure 2: Number of Australian program (titles) made available on SVOD services outside Australia, at 30 June 2021

 SVOD 2020-21 - Figure 2

Other supports for production

SVOD providers also brought international titles to shoot and/or finish production in Australia, using local production facilities that support the local production industry. It was estimated SVOD expenditure was over several hundred million dollars, employing 56 Australian cast, 2,356 Australian crew and over 5,000 Australian extras.

Points to consider with SVOD data

  1. The then Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts wrote to Amazon, Disney, Netflix and Stan in December 2020. He requested that they report to the ACMA on their investment in Australian programs each year. SVOD providers reported data for the 2020–21 financial year in September 2021.

  1. This report presents aggregated expenditure and program information reported by 4 SVOD providers in Australia. The ACMA has published information consistent with the instruction given by the minister in requesting the data and SVOD providers’ confidentiality requests.

  1. SVOD providers have voluntarily reported this information to the ACMA. Where possible, we have verified the information but cannot confirm its accuracy. We have standardised the information where possible to allow consistency with information reported by TV broadcasters and Screen Australia. However, due to differences between SVOD services and TV broadcasters, there are some areas where direct comparisons are not possible.

  1. The definition used for an Australian program for SVOD reporting purposes is consistent with Section 10 of the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content and Children’s Television) Standards 2020. For consistency with regulatory frameworks for commercial and subscription television broadcasters, SVOD providers reported expenditure related to Australian official co-productions, Australian/New Zealand programs and New Zealand programs as expenditure on ‘Australian’ programs. The vast majority of programs were made under the creative control of Australians.

  2. SVOD providers reported total hours and numbers of distinct Australian programs available on their Australian services. We requested that this data include only Australian and official co-productions.

  1. If the provider did not have its own services outside Australia, commissioned Australian programs distributed to foreign-owned services were reported. We asked only for aggregated data for the number and hours of Australian programs on services outside Australia.

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