8679.0 - Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/06/2017   
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The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from data collected from a sample of Australian businesses primarily engaged in film or video production and post-production services and a census of Australian businesses primarily engaged in providing television broadcasting services, subscription channel provision and digital games development. The collection was conducted as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) business survey program for the 2015–16 reference year. The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 provides for the ATO to pass information to the Australian Statistician for the purposes of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Please refer to ABS Institutional Environment for more information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations. For more information about the institutional environment of the ATO, please refer to Part 3 Management and accountability in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2015-16.


The main purpose of this collection was to measure the income and expenses, size and structure and production activity of businesses in the film, television and digital game development industries in Australia during the 2015-16 financial year.

Statistics of particular interest include:

  • the number of commercial first-release broadcast hours of television produced
  • production costs
  • sources of income
  • items of expenditure
  • employment data
  • state/territory data

Government policy in this area has two aims: industry development (economic), and social/cultural objectives (e.g. the development of local product). The economic data in this collection enable governments and policy analysts to track the progress of industry development initiatives and to evaluate the performance of core funded agencies, with cultural industries being subsidised by Commonwealth and State governments in various ways (e.g. tax incentives, direct grants).


Collection questionnaires were mailed to a sample of production and post-production businesses and to all television broadcasters, subscription channel providers and digital game development businesses in mid-August 2016. The estimates are scheduled for release in June 2017, almost twelve months after the end of the reference period.


The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into collection and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing. Estimates were produced using number raised estimation methodology with a sample of 1,055 production and post-production services businesses, and a census of 55 commercial free-to-air, subscription and public television broadcasters and subscription television channel content providers and 92 digital games developers. Note that the business counts published in this publication are not the same as the number of businesses surveyed due to businesses ceasing trading during the financial year or having been deemed as out of scope.

For this collection, non-sampling error may result from such things as deficiencies in reporting and/or errors made in compiling results. The extent to which non-sampling error affected the results of the collection is not precisely quantifiable. Every effort was made to minimise reporting error by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of collection analysts and efficient data processing procedures. Additionally, to ensure the accuracy of the estimates produced, the data have been checked against previous collection results and other sources, including contact with providers.

There was an 85.9% live response rate from all production and post-production services businesses that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Data were imputed for the remaining 14.1% of operating businesses. Imputed responses contributed 2.5% to the estimate of total income.


The ABS has been conducting collections of film and video production and post-production businesses periodically since 1993–94, television broadcasters since 1996-97 and digital games developers since 2006-07. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the collections, sound collection practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, a collection's relevance to the changing needs of users, and the efficiency of the collection. Additionally, given the irregular frequency of these collections, they are not primarily designed to monitor change over time.

Caution should be used when referencing historical data. Changes made to these collections over time include changes in scope, concepts, data item definitions and classifications. For a full list of changes made between the 2011-12 and the 2015-16 collections, refer to the Explanatory Notes of Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia (cat. no. 8679.0).


The estimates from the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey are only available as original series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted. Although financial estimates in this publication relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2016, or the last pay period of the month specified. As such, estimates of values per person employed can be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period. This is particularly relevant when assessing film and video production and post-production estimates owing to fluctuations in employment caused by the project-based nature of film and video production activities.

Further information on terminology and other technical aspects associated with statistics from the Film, Television and Digital Games Collection can be found in the publication Film, Television and Digital Games, Australia (cat. no. 8679.0), which contains detailed Explanatory Notes and Glossary.


Data from the Television, Film and Video Production and Post-Production Services Survey are available in a variety of formats. The formats available free of charge on the ABS website are:
  • main features which include key findings commentary
  • data cubes (spreadsheets). These include: summary of operations by state; origin of income related to productions; and tables providing detailed summaries of financial and employment data by industry.

Customised data may be available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors and, in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised or not available for release. Inquiries can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.