8680.0 - Radio and Television Services, Australia, 1996-97  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/11/1998   
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November 9, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Profitability of Australia's television and radio industry - ABS

Losses of $1,058 million by Australia's pay television operators have contributed to an overall television industry loss of -$324 million during 1996-97, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This overall loss by the television services industry occurred despite the commercial free-to-air television broadcasters who generated an operating profit margin of 28.2 per cent during 1996-97.

However the radio services industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $93 million in 1996-97. Commercial radio operators were the main contributors to the overall industry profit with an operating profit margin of 16 per cent.

These and other details are contained in the publication Radio and Television Services, Australia 1996-97. Other highlights include:

Television services industry

At the end of June 1997, there were 48 employing private broadcasters compared to 43 broadcasters at the end of June 1994. The increase was mainly due to the emergence of pay television in the intervening period.

In 1996-97, the 48 private television broadcasters generated total income of $3,351 million, which represented a 51 per cent increase in total income compared to 1993-94. The main source of income was from the sale of airtime ($2365 million) which related almost entirely to commercial free-to-air businesses. The other major source of income was subscriptions and membership fees of $311 million which related to the operations of pay television businesses.

There was a slight increase (5 per cent) in employment since June 1994 with 8,873 people working for private television broadcasters at the end of June 1997, of which 6,758 people (76 per cent) worked for commercial free-to-air businesses. There has also been a shift in the type of employment with a 14 per cent increase in full-time employment since June 1994.

Radio services industry

At the end of June 1997 there were 261 employing private broadcasters in the radio services industry, including 103 commercial broadcasters and 121 community radio broadcasters.

The total income of the radio services industry increased by 21 per cent between 1993-94 and 1996-97 to $623 million, however total expenses increased by only 7 per cent. Sale of airtime of $546 million represented 88 per cent of industry income, while labour costs of $197 million were the main expenses item.

Of the 5,064 people employed at the end of June 1997, 4,361 (87 per cent) worked for commercial broadcasters. There were 2,032 people engaged in on-air activities which accounted for 40 per cent of total employment and was dominated by males at a 3 to 1 ratio. Total employment of community radio broadcasters was 499, but they were more reliant on volunteers who totalled 10,343 during the month of June 1997. These volunteers were mainly engaged in on-air activities.

More details are in Radio and Television Services, Australia 1996-97 (cat. no. 8680.0) available from ABS bookshop. A summary of the publication is available on this site.