Film, TV program starts leap by 23%

SYDNEY— The volume of Australian film and TV production in the 12 months ending June 30 jumped by 23% over the prior year to A$366 million ($267 million) — but the bad news for the Aussie industry was the rising flow of Oz coin into offshore productions.

That’s a major finding of the Australian Film Commission’s eighth annual survey of feature film and indie TV drama production released Wednesday. The total value of the 39 films plus 48 TV projects lensed in Australia (including foreign-originated projects) was $409 million, up 12% million on 1995/96.

AFC CEO Cathy Robinson welcomed the continued improvement in production levels after a drop in 1994/95, but noted the past year’s output was below that recorded in 1993/94. She expressed concern about a significant fall in productions that cranked up from July to the present, and at the increase in Australian private investment in productions, chiefly films, shot overseas. The latter included “Tarzan and Jane,” “Aberration” and “Wish.”

Investment down

Robinson also pointed to a steep fall in the level of Australian government investment in film and TV drama, which follows reductions in funding for bodies such as the AFC and the Australian Film Finance Corp.

“It is possible to conclude from this year’s survey that the structure of the Australian production industry is changing,” she says, while suggesting it may be two or three years before the full implication of these changes is clear.

Ten Web exec shuffle

Australia’s Network Ten has responded to a ratings trough which has seen the broadcaster fail to make ground against the Nine and Seven webs by installing David Mott as program director, replacing Ross Plapp.

Mott had been Ten’s deputy program director since last year after crossing from Channel Seven Sydney, where he was program director. Mott’s elevation at the expense of Plapp is one of the first major changes by Ten’s recently appointed CEO John McAlpine, who said Mott’s attitude and commitment “will serve us very well in taking our programming forward.”

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