Local audiences keen on content online

SYDNEY — New research by industry org Screen Australia has shown that local features have a long life when their theatrical runs end and that 100 local films released from 2007-09 have been viewed more than 101 million times.

The research aims to map the way auds consume films in the changing world of iPads, online streaming and video-on-demand and will form the basis of Screen Australia’s report on the matter to the government.

“I strongly believe in evidence-based policy making, and this research will be a vital component of Screen Australia’s submission to the Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s convergence review,” said Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley at an industry forum in Sydney on Monday.

The report found that theatrical counted for only 9% of all viewings of Aussie features while homevideo accounted for 61%, online video 4%, feevee 10% and free-to-air 16%.

But the dominance of homevid is already under attack from online VOD services.

Forum panel member Paul Wiegard, from local distrib Madman, said there had been an additional 25% drop in homevid consumption since the report wrapped in October.

Screen Australia employed PricewaterhouseCoopers to create a survey-based model to track the life of an Aussie pic because it thinks that the industry focus on gross revenues does not tell a complete picture.

Harley acknowledged that contentmakers had to adapt to changing audiences needs, and “Our methods of measuring success must change too.”

The discovery that there was a larger-than-expected aud for local content was encouraging, though much of the panel debate at the launch was based around how the industry could monetize this interest.

Harley hoped the debate would continue. “This is not all just about informing government debate; we’re hoping this research will be the basis for other conclusions and for other thinking,” he said.

Screen Australia also announced the introduction of a A$3 million-A$5 million ($3.28 million-$5.5 million) All Media Fund to encourage interactive and multiplatform storytelling.

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