Fall in film dramas hit Australian biz

But boost in TV series help soften production losses

The spending on adult TV drama in Australia is at a decade-long high, but a lack of big-budget films has seen total spending in the country fall by a third.

According to Screen Australia’s annual drama survey, coin for drama in the 2010-11 fiscal year stands at A$495 million ($511.5 million), off 33% from the previous year. But with more than 40 skeins in production, TV prevented an even greater fall. Series counted for $348 million, in a year that has seen local skeins click with auds.

High-quality productions, including pubcaster ABC’s “The Slap,” the Nine Network’s “Underbelly: Razor” and Network Seven’s “Wild Boys,” have especially contributed to the steady growth of adult dramas, per Screen Australia’s topper Ruth Harley. “Australia is making some of the best television in the world at the moment and our stories are rating highly with audiences,” Harley added.

Bigscreen adult drama brought in just $163 million, because no high-budget studio-backed pics have been produced Down Under in the past 12 months. Of that figure, foreign production accounted for $89 million of expenditure, down from $188.5 million in the previous year, when “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” shot in Australia.

There are hopes for a boost in next year’s figures as production on Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” and Alex Proyas’ “Paradise Lost” are both under way in Sydney.

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