Although linear TV in early 2015 was still adopted by 88% of Australian households, the figure is falling gradually, and the advent of OTT viewing as well as IPTV offers from Telstra’s new bundled video and broadband services and other major ISPs will see a more rapid shift from liner to time-shifted TV in coming years, especially since Netflix entered the market.
Foxtel has seen steady revenue growth during the last few years but the company has struggled to increase pay-TV penetration in Australia, even with competitively priced basic packages as low as AUD$10 per month. Ooyala reported that Australian households that subscribe to SVOD services have increased the number of services to 1.7 from 1.5 since 2015. More than 2.7 million new active subscribers came in at the end of June 2016, an increase of 46% compared to the same period a year ago.
Telstye found that the total number of paid SVOD subscriptions will double to 4.1 million in mid-2019, a huge rise from the 1.9 million subscribers in June 2016, totally exceeding pay- TV subscriptions. However, as of June 2016 pay-TV has a total of 3.3 million subscribers and continues to enjoy a healthy revenue lead over SVOD. Roy Morgan Research found Netfl ix the clear market leader, followed by local SVOD services Stan and Presto. Both Australian services have been growing faster than Netfl ix in the past 12 months, primarily as the “second SVOD” service in homes. About 20% Netfl ix customers have more than one SVOD service.
In December 2015, Screen Australia launched a five-point AUD$5 million plan over a three-year span for Gender Matters, a suite of initiatives addressing the gender imbalance within the Australian screen industry. With 32% of women working as producers, 23% of writers and only 16% as directors, the imbalance is most notable in the traditional film industry. The five-point plan included an immediate $3 million allocation of jump-start funding to get female-led projects production ready within two years, and a further AUD$2 million of support for placements, distribution incentives, marketing and industry networking. Gender Matters’ launch of the Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers programmes garnered huge success, receiving a record breaking 452 applications, the most applications ever received for any funding programme. When the 58 recipients of these two programmes, it marked the largest cohort of projects funded in a single day in the agency’s history. A combined 45 story ideas and 13 industry projects led by Australian women shared in more than AUD$3 million of funding.
Gender Matters’ final two steps were unveiled in August 2016, namely Better Deals and Attachments for Women, at the MIFF 37°South Market in Melbourne. Better Deals is a $1 million pilot programme, creating a new incentive for distributors considering quality female-driven feature film projects. Screen Australia matched the distributor’s minimum guarantee of AUD$100,000 or more (up to AUD$300,000), provided as a grant contribution towards the marketing of the film. Attachments for Women is run in conjunction with the existing Production Investment Programmes. It requires that all scripted drama projects that receive more than AUD$500,000 from Screen Australia to have a compulsory, paid female attachment position built into the budget.
The fifth-annual Asian Animation Summit (AAS) will take place in Brisbane, Australia from November 22 to 24. Organisers are anticipating roughly 200 attendees taking part at this year’s event, which is designed to attract producers of animation who are interested in co-producing projects with partners in Asia- Pacific, as well as broadcasters, distributors and investors from the region and beyond. Over the course of the three-day event, 24 projects from Australia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and elsewhere in Asia- Pacific that is brand-new to the market and looking for financing and partners will be presented. Thirteen Australian documentaries were shown at the 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, including eight feature documentaries and five shorts (as well as a music video from an Australian director). Putuparri and the Rainmakers, winner of the 2015 CinéfestOZ Film Prize, had its international premiere at the festival and was shown as part of the Made In Australia programme. In April 2016, Network Ten, Nine Network and Seven Network announced the launch of a new joint venture marketing company, Think TV, aiming to persuade advertisers to continue to invest in free-to-air television. For the first time, the two television sectors will be aligned under a new industry body to promote television’s scale and effectiveness for advertisers across all screens.