According to Free TV, Screen Australia’s recently released Drama Report has again showed that commercial free-to-air broadcasters remained the largest investors in Australian drama production, directly investing $61 million across 18 titles in Australian drama in 2019/20 – more than any other sector.
This is despite the extremely difficult market conditions that the industry has endured as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the report, Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “While Screen Australia report shows this was undoubtedly a tough year for all in our industry, it also highlights broadcasters’ absolute commitment to providing great Australian content.
“In FY20, commercial free-to-air broadcasters produced 336 hours of first-release Australian drama with programs like Housos vs Virus: The Lockdown, Home and Away, Informer 3838, Halifax: Retribution, Five Bedrooms, and Neighbours.
“This was despite the unprecedented challenges faced by the industry, including suspension and cancellation of program production across all genres, a significant reduction in advertising revenues, and increased costs of producing and delivering content during this time.
“The interesting thing is, during COVID-19 Australians relied on our services more than ever before, with average audiences for some programs up by 60% at the end of March in all demographics.
“Broadcasters worked hard to meet this demand, including by bringing great Australian drama to free-to-air screens.
“We are proud to be the platform of choice for so many Australians – and our drama slate is an important part of our overall offering”, Ms Fair said.