Oz media industry continues to grow

Report predicts pay TV, film revs on the rise

SYDNEY — The digital revolution and renewed advertiser confidence will drive the Australian entertainment and media industry to new growth, but piracy continues to pose a major threat.

That’s the conclusion of the Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook from PricewaterhouseCoopers, released Monday.

Report predicts pay TV penetration, which has lagged at 23%, will grow by 9.4% from 2003-2007, propelled by the Foxtel/Optus content sharing agreement and the roll-out next year of digitised and interactive services.

It forecasts a 7% gain in filmed entertainment revs, reaching $A2.8 billion ($1.82 billion) in 2007, spurred by DVD sales.

The sell-through market will grow by an average of 15%, more than doubling to $845 million in 2007, it said.

Consumer spending in Internet access will surge by 14.6%, buoyed by the uptake in broadband technology; and spending on interactive games will shoot up by 11.6%, supported by competitive console prices and the introduction of online console gaming.

The report says the government’s failure to get its media reform bill passed into law will place Australia at a disadvantage to other countries and will force media organizations to change strategies and objectives. This “will force Australian media organizations to look offshore for growth,” said Steven Bosiljevac, PwC’s Australian entertainment and media leader.

He said the government’s unwillingness to extend the 12.5% tax credit for films to TV series and bundled tele-movies is hurting the local production industry, adding, “unless this is redressed, we will miss out on more and more footloose productions to Canada, New Zealand and Europe.”

The report says piracy will plague the music and gaming industries and dampen consumer spending in all forms of digitized entertainment as broadband penetration grows.