Australian Bureau of Statistics
Survey Participant Information - Film, Television and Digital Games Survey
Survey Participant Information - Film, Television and Digital Games Survey - AIC12FTV
Welcome to online help for the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey 2011-12.
This page contains information designed to assist businesses to understand and complete the questions asked on the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey 2011-12.
The information below has been compiled based on feedback from businesses and organisations during testing of the current survey instrument. It also includes some general queries received across a range of industry surveys.
For common questions about participation in ABS business surveys, please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For further information on ABS run surveys, please refer to the ABS Surveys Charter, 2010 which specifies the standards relevant to all ABS surveys.
If your question about the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey is not answered on this page or in the information provided on your form, you can call the number printed on the front of the form: 1800 110 791 (freecall from landline phones).
Do I still need to complete the form if the business was sold during the reference period?
Do I still need to complete the form if the business was sold before the start of the reference period?
If the business was sold prior to the beginning of the reference period, please contact the freecall (excluding mobile phones) number 1800 110 791. This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business reminder letters to return the form.
If the business is still operating, but did not trade during the reference period, please contact the freecall (excluding mobile phones) number 1800 110 791. This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business reminder letters to return the form.
Do I still need to complete the form if the business has gone into liquidation/administration during the reference period?
If the business has gone into liquidation or administration during the financial year, please complete the form using figures up to and including the day that the business was liquidated or went into administration. It is also important to report the date that this occurred. If you are unable to access the accounts, then the liquidator or administrator should complete the survey. Where this is not possible, best available estimates of the financial data should be provided. Although it is preferred that you provide a best estimate for your business, it is acceptable to provide an estimate based on a percentage change from the previous years figures. Where estimates are not possible, please contact the freecall (excluding mobile phones) number 1800 110 791 for further assistance.
Do I still need to complete the form if the business had no production activity during the reference period?
If the business generated income or expenses during the period then these items should be reported, regardless of whether or not a production was undertaken. For example, royalties income earned by the business during the reference period from any previous productions should be reported on the form. In addition, any funding or financing received in the reference period for future projects should be reported.
For the purposes of this survey, data is only to be reported for the activities of the business entity holding the ABN printed on the front of the form. Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that are set up in order to capture activities related to a single production (e.g. a feature film or television series) may be selected to participate in this survey. All questions on the survey relate to the Income Statement and Balance Sheet of this ABN only. Any related business entities, including production or rights holding SPVs, associated production and parent companies, may also be selected in this survey and if so will be required to complete a separate form.
A number of businesses/organisations have been selected in both the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey (AIC12FTV) and the Economic Activity Survey (AIC12C/AIC12CO).
Employment is a headcount of all persons paid in the last pay period of each quarter in the reference period. It excludes any casual or seasonal employees who did not work during this final pay period. However, permanent employees on paid leave should still be included.
How do I categorise my employees?
The employment categories contained in Question 6 have been designed to capture employment across several industries and as a result, not all categories will be relevant to all businesses completing this survey. Employees should be reported in the category that best reflects their role in the business. For employees who perform multiple roles within a business, report them in the category that best describes the role/activity which they spent the most time undertaking during the period.
The income section of the form aims to capture and categorise the income sources of businesses within the film, television and digital games industries. The income questions have been designed to capture income across three different industries and as a result not all income questions will be relevant to all businesses completing the survey form. Most businesses will only need to complete income questions relevant to one industry - either broadcasting, film and video production, or digital games development.
Questions 7 to 9 relate to income from broadcasting and channel provision. All income earned by your business from television broadcasting or channel provision activities should be reported in this section.
Question 7 - Gross income from the sale of airtime
All income earned from the sale of airtime should be reported at this question. This is also the question where advertising sales revenue from subscription TV channels should be reported (i.e. your business's share of any revenue from the sale of advertising on subscription television channels, split between broadcasters and channel providers).
Question 8 - Income from subscription fees
Any income earned from subscription fees for broadcasting television should be reported at this question. Also included is any revenue received from the provision of subscription TV channels to broadcasters.
Question 9 - Income from affiliation fees
Include in this question any income earned from fees received from an affiliated network or network services for the right to broadcast the network's programs.
Income from work on film, television and video
Questions 10 to 16 refer to income from work on film, television and video. All income earned by your business from work on film, television and video production and post-production activities should be reported in this section, excluding royalties income (this should be reported at Question 20).
Note that this income includes investments (both public and private), as reported on your Income Statement.
Production and post-production are simply two terms used to describe the stages of production for any given film, television or video work.
Production generally refers to the stage of a production where the actual shooting takes place. For the purpose of this survey, production activity also includes development and pre-production work such as casting or set construction.
Some examples of production activity include:
- Motion picture production
- Television commercial production
- Television program production
- Video production
Post-production involves all stages of production occurring after the actual recording or work. For a TV show, this would mean any visual editing (such as trimming scenes, ordering the sequence of events) or sound editing (such as adding music tracks, laugh tracks), ending with the completed work. For the purposes of this survey, post-production includes the provision of digital and visual effects, and these services are collectively referred to on the form as 'Post-production, digital and video effects services' (PDV).
Some examples of post-production (or PDV) activity include:
- CGI, animation and special effect post-production services
- Developing and printing motion picture film
- Film or tape closed captioning
Questions 10 to 13 relate to production income and production services income.
Questions 14 to 16 relate to post-production services income.
What is the difference between production income and income form the provision of production services to other businesses?
Question 10 - Production income
Production income refers to income earned by businesses from the production of film, television and video works for which they had prime responsibility for producing in Australia. It includes government funding received for the production of film, television and video, including any producer offset or PDV offset recorded in a business's Income statement. Investment contributions from the public and private sector, license fees received as financing for a production, sales revenue (including advances and pre-sales), minimum guarantee payments and fees received from agencies or clients for the production of commercials and/or other video. All production income related to film, television and video should be reported at Question 10.
Note that income reported on the form should be a reflect of your Income Statement. If your business has not recognised any income in its Income Statement for the reference period due to a project not having reached its completion date, or until the Producer Offset is received, then this income should not be reported on the form until it is included in your Income Statement.
Question 12 - Income from the provision of production services
In comparison, 'Income from the provision of production services' refers to income received by businesses for providing production services to other businesses. Effectively, this mean providing services to another business (such as a production company) who has prime responsibility for the production. These services include (but are not limited to) producers' fees, line production fees, directors fees, cinematography and rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew.
In general, if your business is responsible for producing an entire production (e.g. a commercial, film or TV program), then this income should be reported as production income at Question 10. This includes businesses that are producing a film in Australia, which is financed or managed by a foreign company.
Note that it is possible for a business to receive production income and also earn income from providing production services to other businesses.
Some common examples of production income and production services income are given below:
A production company was commissioned by a television network to produce a telemovie for broadcast on their network. The production company undertook the entire production of this telemovie.
As the production company had prime responsibility for producing the movie, any income earned in relation to this production should be reported as production income (Question 10) by the production company.
An animation company was contracted by a production company to provide animation services on a movie the production company was producing. How should income related to this movie be reported by the animation company?
As the animation company was acting as contractors on this project and did not have prime responsibility for producing the complete movie, this income should be treated as service income. Because the services provided fall under the definition of post-production, digital and video effects (PDV), the income should be reported under post-production services (Question 14) by the animation company.
An Australian business is set up by an overseas production company to produce a movie in Australia.
The Australian business should be reporting income earned in relation to the movie as production income (Question 10) as they had prime responsibility for producing the movie in Australia.
Income from work on digital games
End-to-end digital game development and production income - Question 17
This refers to income earned from the development and/or production of an entire digital game from start to finish and any income that game generates (excluding royalties). It includes sales revenue, advances and pre-sales, revenue from in-game advertising and revenue from in-game purchases. It also includes Government funding received for digital games and investment contributions from the public or private sector.
Income from digital game development or production services - Question 18
In comparison, game development services income refers to income earned from providing games development or production services to other businesses, including PDV services for digital games.
If your business was responsible for developing a digital game from end-to-end on behalf of a publisher, any income received for this should be reported as end-to-end digital game development and production (Question 17). If, however, a publisher has retained your business on a 'fee-for-service' basis to develop only part of a digital game, then any income received for these services should be recorded as digital game development or production services and recorded at Question 18.
This business received income during the reference period for in-game purchases in a game we developed 2 years ago. Where should this income be reported?
In-game purchases are considered to be end-to-end production income and should be reported in Question 17. This income is included in Question 17 in the year it is earned, even if the income is related to a game produced in a previous financial year.
As part of the game development process, this business developed middleware which is now sold or licensed to other game developers. Where should this income be included?
Middleware is software that either aids the development of a digital game or provides a framework or engine within it, but does not function as a game on its own. All income from developing middleware is excluded from Questions 17 and 18.
Income earned from the sale of middleware developed by your business should be reported as income from the sale of goods at Question 22.
Income earned from the licensing of middleware developed by your business (where your business retains ownership of the middleware) should be reported as royalties income in Question 20.
This business is a post-production studio which has done some animation work for a digital game. Where should this income be reported?
Even if your business's primary activity is not work on digital games, record income for any work that has been done on digital games in Question 18 - including any PDV work.
Where do I report royalties income?
Royalties income, Question 20 includes payments received under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights and income derived from program format rights. All royalties received in the reference period should be reported here. This would include any royalties income received for both current and past productions to which your business owns the rights.
Note that royalties income does not include licence fees received from broadcasters for the financing of a production. These are considered Production income, and should be reported in Question 10.
Royalties income is broken down into several categories and should be reported in the relevant category.
Note that these categories refer to the original medium in which the content was produced. For example, royalties earned from DVD sales or television screening rights for a feature film should be recorded under the 'Feature films' category of royalties (not 'Television programs' or 'Other film and video').
If your business has earned royalties from any sources other than television, film, video, or digital games, these should be recorded under the 'Other royalties' category, Question 20(d).
Where do I report government funding or investment?
There are many different types of government funding that a business may receive and the specific nature of the funding determines where the income should be reported.
The rule of thumb is that government funding or investment received for a specific project should be reported at Question 10 (for television, film and video productions) or at Question 17 (for digital game productions). All other government funding or investment received by a business should be treated as 'Other government funding' and reported at Question 23.
Question 10 - Production income
Government funding received for the production of film, television and video is included in Question 10. This is government funding received by a business for a specific production or project. It may include funding and investment received from government agencies such as Screen Australia or other state funding bodies. Tax offsets and rebates (such as the Producer Offset) should be reported in Question 10 if they are recorded as income on your business's Income statement. This also includes any PDV offset that a production company receives that is recorded in their Income Statement.
More information on reporting the Producer Offset is included under the section of Tax Offsets and Rebates
Question 17 - Income from end-to-end digital game development and production
Government funding received by businesses for the development and production of digital games is included in Question 17. It may include government funding such as the Screen Development Investment Scheme, and should be reported here if it is recorded as income on your business's Income statement.
Question 23 - Other funding from federal, state and/or local government
All other Government funding received by a business should be reported at Question 23, Other government funding. This item is broken down into two subcategories:
a) Funding for operational costs
This item refers to payments made by government to businesses to assist in meeting the operating costs of the business that are not project-based. It includes bounties, subsidies, export grants and payments under apprenticeship and traineeship schemes. Examples of this type of government funding that a business may receive include payroll subsidies, travel grants, export marketing grants and R&D offsets.
b) Funding provided for specific capital items
This item refers to government funding paid to a business for the purchase of specific capital items, such as business vehicles or production equipment. A capital item is an item included in the assets section of a business's Balance sheet that is written off or depreciated over more than one accounting period.
Wages and salaries should be reported excluding payments to contractors. Contractors should also be excluded from your business's employment count.
How should I report payments made to contractors and other businesses?
All payments to contractors for services to your business should be reported at either Question 28 or Question 41.
Question 28 - Payments to contractors and other businesses for selected services
This question seeks to find out how expenses for your business are split between various production-related services. The breakdown requested covers services specific to the film, television, video and digital game development industries. Note that some production-related services (such as catering and cleaning) are excluded from this question, because they are not specific to these industries. Expenses for these services should be included instead at Question 41.
You may wish to refer to your business's Creditors report to obtain this breakdown. If your business does not have a Creditors report, careful estimates are acceptable.
The Web development services category aims to capture the amount that businesses pay to contractors and other businesses for web development and content creation relating to their productions. For this reason, payments to contractors for developing or maintaining a corporate website should be excluded, and instead reported at Question 41.
Question 41 - Other contract, sub-contract and commission expenses
This question is typically where the remainder of your business's contractor expenses will be reported, provided they have not been separately requested in any other expense question.
What is the difference between depreciation and amortisation expenses, program rights expensed and royalties expenses?
Amortisation of productions and program rights - Question 30(a)
This represents the diminution in the value of these assets over time (generally several years) and occurs when productions or program rights are treated as capitalised expenses. The amortisation charge is expensed through the business's financial statements.
Depreciation and other amortisation expenses - Question 30(b)
All other assets that are depreciated or amortised through this business's financial statements, other than those related to productions and program rights, should be reported in this question.
Program rights expensed - Question 31
In comparison, program rights expensed represents the written off cost of purchasing program rights in the reference period. These are programs which are expensed immediately instead of being amortised over several years.
Royalties expenses - Question 32
Royalties expenses are payments made for the use of rights or intellectual property owned by another business or individual. This includes payments under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights, including music and literary rights and payments for the use of program format rights.
Note that royalties expenses do not include program rights expensed (which should instead be included in Question 31).
Should I report capitalised expenses?
All expenses reported should reflect the expenses reported in your Income Statement. If your business does not recognise any expenses until the 'completion date' of your current project, or until the Producer Offset is received, then these should not be reported on the form until they are included in your Income Statement.
Please note, that capitalised expenses should not be reported in Part 5 - Expense items, rather capitalised expenses should be reported in Part 8 - Capital expenditure and disposal of assets, as well as production costs in Part 10 - Production Activity.
TAX OFFSETS AND REBATES
Some of the tax offsets and rebates relevant to the film and television industries include:
Producer Offset - refundable tax offset on the qualifying costs of making Australian film and TV.
PDV Offset - a tax offset on the qualifying costs related to post, digital and visual effects production.
Location offsets - various rebates offered on qualifying costs for filming in certain locations.
Rebates and offsets may be recorded differently by different businesses in their Income Statements. Offsets may be recorded as income or they may be netted off expenses. How your business records any offsets or rebates received will affect how these should be reported on the survey form.
Where do I report tax offsets and rebates?
Question 45 asks for the amount of tax offsets and rebates you received from national or state government. You are then asked to specify the nature and amount of the three largest items included. The total of all tax rebates and offsets received should be reported here regardless of how these are treated in your Income Statement.
Question 46 seeks to find out whether any of the offsets or rebates received have been recorded as Production income at Question 10, and if so, what amount. Rebates and offsets should only be reported at Production income if they are recorded as income on your business's Income Statement.
Inventories (Question 47) are divided into two sections: Opening inventories and Closing inventories.
Valuation of inventories should be on the same basis as used in the Balance Sheet of this business. Inventories do not include depreciable assets such as land.
CAPITAL EXPENDITURE AND DISPOSAL OF ASSETS
Capital expenditure refers to the amount spent by a business on the acquisition of non-current assets. It does not represent the value of asset holdings purchased prior to the current reporting period and does not include additions to inventories. If the business hires contractors to carry out capital work, then these contractor payments should be included in the cost of the capital works.
What is capitalised work done by own employees?
Capitalised work done by own employees occurs when a business uses its own employees to add to the value of its assets by virtue of project work. Examples include:
In these cases, the cost of the project - both wages and salaries paid to employees and materials used for the capital work - may be capitalised, so that the cost can be amortised over more than one reporting period.
If the project work relates to a non-current asset, it is included in the relevant section of the question Capital expenditure included capitalised work done by own employees (Question 48). Capitalised work done by own employees should also be reported as Capitalised wages and salaries (Question 49(a)) and Purchases of materials for capital work (Question 49(b)). That is to say that Capitalised work done by own employees (Question 48) is a subset of Capital expenditure including capitalised work done by own employees (Question 48).
Capitalised wages and salaries and purchases of materials must relate to capital works. If they are wages and salaries or purchases relating to the daily operations of the business, they are reported as an expense item.
Question 52 requests a split of employment, wages and salaries and income by state/territory. You only need to complete this question if your business operated in more than one state/territory during the reference period.
If your business has also been selected to complete an Economic Activity Survey (AIC12C, AIC12CO) form, you should note there is a difference between the multi-state questions on these forms. The Economic Activity Statement form requests a state/territory split by Sales and service income, where the Film, Television and Digital Games survey requests a split by Total Income. If these totals are different for your business, your response to this question will be different accordingly.
Some common examples of multi-state operation are explained below:
Our production company is based in Melbourne, but from April to July we conducted a 4 month shoot in rural Queensland for a film we are producing. Do we need to complete the multi-state question?
Assuming that a production office was set up for the Queensland shoot, then yes - you would need to complete the multi-state question.
Income - If data is available (or if it can be estimated), a split of income between states/territories should be supplied. In cases where income can only be attributed to a single completed project (such as a feature film), the income should be recorded against the business's main state/territory of operation.
Employment and Wages & salaries - employees should be reported against the state/territory in which they are usually employed. Therefore any staff employed in Queensland specifically for the shoot in Queensland, should be reported against Queensland. Any staff that are usually employed by your business in Victoria, but travelled to Queensland to work on the shoot, should be reported against Victoria.
Our digital games development business operates in 2 states but only has one set of accounts. Our head office is in NSW and our second location is in Canberra, do we need to complete the multi-state question?
Yes - in this case the multi-state questions would need to be completed.
Income - If possible, income should be split between the two states/territories. If your business's accounts are not set up to adequately separate this item, you can supply a careful estimate of this split.
Employment and Wages & salaries - employment and wages & salaries should be reported against the state where the employees are located.
The production activity section of the form aims to measure the production activity that occurred in Australia during the reference period. In order to avoid double counting, you should only report productions for which your business had prime responsibility for undertaking the production in Australia. Some common scenarios explaining who should report production activity are detailed below:
This business is a broadcaster and during the survey period we commissioned a production company to make a program for our network. Which business should report the production activity for this program?
In this situation the production company should report all production activity for this program as they have been commissioned to produce the program and have prime responsibility for undertaking the production of the program. As the broadcaster, you should not report any production activity for this program on your form.
This business is a broadcaster and hired contractors to work on a program the network is producing. Should this business report production activity for this program?
Yes. As this business has prime responsibility for producing the program then you should report all related production activity. If the contractors who worked on your program were also selected in the survey, they would not be required to report the production activity for this program.
This business is an Australian business that has been set up by a foreign company to make a film in Australia. Should this business report production activity?
Yes - as this business has prime responsibility for undertaking this film in Australia, production activity for this film should be reported.
This company made a movie and shot part of it overseas, What should be reported in the production activity section?
Only the Australian-based activities of a business should be included on the form. The production activity section aims to measure the production activity that occurred in Australian during the reference period. Therefore any production activity undertaken overseas should be excluded from the production activity section.
How do I report the production activity undertaken by this business?
The production activity section is broken down into several sections. These are Digital games, Television programs, Other film and video productions (online and not online), Online productions related to other productions, and Commercials and program promotions.
This question measures digital game production activity in Australia. Businesses with digital game production activity should report the number of productions they developed in the reference period for each game platform. Each digital game title should be reported as one production. If a digital game title was developed for more than one platform then it should be reported as one production in the 'Multiple platform' category.
Note that this would only apply if the platforms are in different categories. This means a game developed for PS3 and Xbox should still be reported under 'Consoles' rather than 'Multi-platform'.
Question 54 - Television programs
Production activity for all television programs this business had prime responsibility for producing should be reported in this question. Online content related to television programs is excluded and should be reported at Question 56.
Question 54 asks you to report by number of completed first release broadcast hours and related production costs, including capitalised costs incurred during 2011-12 by television program types.
First release broadcast hours - should be calculated using a program's scheduled running time including commercial breaks. All completed hours of television should be reported whether or not they have been broadcast.
Production costs - includes all development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs incurred. This would include costs for producing programs that are not yet complete.
Television program types - definitions for the different types of television programs are included on pages 2 and 3 of the survey form, and also in the Glossary.
Some common questions are outlined below:
This business is a production company and has been working on a 26 episode series during the year. As at 30 June, only 14 episodes have been completed. How many hours should be reported against Question 54?
For broadcast hours, we request the number of completed broadcast hours. In this case you would only report the 14 episodes that have been completed. For the production costs, you need to report the production costs incurred in 2011-12 for all 26 episodes, even if they aren't complete.
This business completed 12 episodes in the reporting period but none of them have been broadcast. Should I report these?
Yes. All completed broadcast hours should be reported regardless of whether or not they have been broadcast. All production costs associated with producing completed and incomplete programs incurred during the 2011-12 financial year should also be reported.
This business has completed 10 episodes of a television series during the year. Each episode is 45 minutes in length but will be broadcast over 60 minutes including advertisements, should we report 10 x 45 minutes as total broadcast hours or 10 x 60 minutes?
Time allocated for advertisements should be included when reporting 'Number of completed first release broadcast hours', so you should report 10 episodes at 60 minutes each, or ten hours total.
Question 55 and Question 56 - Other film and video productions (online and not online)
Question 55 asks for production activity for all other film and video productions, excluding online productions that your business had prime responsibility for producing. Online content should be reported at Question 56.
Both of these questions request the number of productions your business worked on and related production costs incurred during 2011-12 by category.
Number of productions - each title that your business had prime responsibility for producing during the 2011-12 should be reported as one production. This includes incomplete productions.
Production costs - includes all development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs incurred. This would include costs for producing programs that are not yet complete.
Categories - definitions for the different film and video types are included on pages 2 and 3 of the survey form and in the Glossary.
Some examples of common questions are detailed below:
This business has released some previously screened television programs on the internet. Should I report these here?
No - only productions made specifically for online distribution should be reported here. Television episodes produced for broadcasting on television and then placed online should not be included in online production activity.
This business has produced a web series consisting of 12 episodes. Should I record this as 1 webisode or 12?
The definition of webisode for the purpose of this survey is episodic content for online consumption that forms part of a web series or television series. Each episode you produced would be considered a webisode, so you should report this web series as 12 productions.
I am unable to separate the cost of the television program produced by this business from the 3 webisodes also created to complement it. What should I do?
If exact costs can not be separated, a careful estimate of the online production costs is acceptable. Ensure that the total cost of the television program and its accompany webisodes is distributed across Question 54 and Question 56 in these proportions, and ensure that the costs of the online portion is not double-counted.
Online productions related to other productions
Question 57 - Of the online product costs reported at Question 56, what amount relates to productions reported elsewhere on the form?
This question is designed to measure how much online production activity is related to other traditional media productions made by this business. The purpose is to collect information about 'transmedia' production activity.
Some common examples are detailed below:
This business produced webisodes for a television program, but the television program was produced by another production company. What should I record at Question 57?
You should not record anything at Question 57 for these webisodes. You would only need to report here if your business was responsible for producing the associated content. Note that the webisodes you produced should still be recorded at Question 56 however.
While shooting a new television program, this business simultaneously created 'behind the scenes' webisodes to be released alongside its premiere. Should the cost of producing these be reported in Question 57?
Yes, providing the television program in question was reported at Question 54, and the webisodes were reported at Question 56, you should report the cost of making the webisodes at Question 57. If these webisodes were the only online content your business produced, your responses for Question 56 and Question 57 should be the same.
Question 58 - Commercials and program promotions
This question measures the production activity of commercials and program promotions in Australia. Businesses that are commissioned by agencies or clients for the production of commercials and program promotions should report the production costs here, with the split of Australian market and overseas markets. Refer to pages 2 and 3 of the survey form or the Glossary for the definition of 'Commercials and program promotions'.
ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
The ABS welcomes comments and suggestions from users regarding future surveys of energy, water and environment. These comments should be addressed to the Director, Annual Integrated Collections Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box 796, Sydney, NSW 2001.
For further assistance in completing the Film, Television and Digital games Survey, please contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Freecall (excluding mobile phones) 1800 882 362.
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This page first published 4 April 2012, last updated 17 June 2015