How much it costs to make an hour of Aussie TV
THE cost of making an hour of Aussie miniseries television drama has blown out to $1.567 million, according to Screen Australia.
The figure has shot up more than $200,000 per hour in the space of a year, and around 25 per cent compared to the $1.281 million in 2013-14.
The price hike comes at a time when the popularity of cheaper online-originated shows such as Superwog is exploding.
Screen Australia says rising TV drama budgets are a sign that local producers are out to make world-quality shows to compete with streaming services.
"I'm not surprised to see more money spent per hour given the intense competition from new entrants in the marketplace," Screen Australia chief Michael Brealey said.
"What you are seeing is higher production values. I don't think it has suddenly become more expensive to make television. I think what you are seeing is an investment to hit premium."
Foreign features spend slumped dramatically from last year's $521 million which was driven by major Hollywood productions including Thor: Ragnarok, Aquaman, and Pacific Rim: Uprising.
It is hoped that the live action Dora the Explorer with Isabela Moner and Eva Longoria as well as the just-announced Godzilla vs. Kong starring Alexander Skarsgard will turn that around in the coming year.
Thirty-eight Australian feature films were made, including current box office hit Ladies in Black and the upcoming Storm Boy. Spending was up 12 per cent on last year to $321 million.
Ten children's programs went into production, generating 71 hours of content for a local spend of $49 million.
Only three of the titles came from the commercial broadcasters: Seven's Larry the Wonder Pup, Nine's Space Chickens in Space, and Ten's The Bureau of Magical Things.
The move to shorter-run television drama continues. Mystery Road was six episodes and Playing For Keeps five.
New serial The Heights for the ABC, at 30 30-minute episodes is an exception. The days of long-form dramas such as Blue Heelers (45 episodes in its first season) and Stingers (22 episodes per season) are a thing of the past.
"Shorter series, for the moment, that is the trend we're seeing," Mr Brealey said. "I wouldn't be surprised if that continued."
China, rather than Hollywood, has been heading co-production spends with three titles - At Last, Legend of Sun and Moon, and The Whistleblower.