8681.0 - Information Media and Telecommunications Services, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/06/2015  First Issue
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Definition of key terms

Survey design

Effects of rounding

Data comparability

Further information


1 The Australian Bureau of Statistics conducts an Economic Activity Survey (EAS) each year. In addition, the survey collects more detailed information from a rotating program of industries. For 2013-14 additional information was collected for the Information Media and Telecommunications (IMT) Industry Division.

2 2013-14 was the first time the IMT industry was included in the rotating program. The estimates presented in this publication are compiled on the same basis as those presented in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). The EAS sample for the IMT industry was increased for 2013-14 to collect the additional IMT income and expenditure information that is presented in this publication.

Reference period

3 The period covered by the collection is intended to be the 12 months ended 30 June 2014. Where businesses were unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than those relating to employment.

4 Although financial estimates relate to the full 12 months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2014. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.

5 Financial data include all business units in scope of the survey that were in operation at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those units which were in the development stage or were not in operation, but still existed and held or acquired assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


6 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:


7 The scope of the collection was employing and non-employing businesses operating in the Australian economy, classified to Division J (Information Media and Telecommunications) of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) during 2013-14.

8 The scope of the collection excludes entities classified to SISCA 3000 General government. Government-owned or controlled Public Non-Financial Corporations are included.

9 Statistics in this publication are presented at the division level. Subdivision level estimates referenced in this publication are sourced from Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0).

10 This section discusses frame, statistical units, coverage issues and improvements to coverage.


11 Businesses contributing to the estimates in this publication are sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR), which has two components as described below.

Statistical units

12 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

13 The ABSBR is a two population model; the Profiled Population and the Non-Profiled Population. The main distinction between businesses in the two populations relates to the complexity of the business structure and the degree of intervention required to reflect the business structure for statistical purposes.

Non-Profiled Population

14 The majority of businesses included on the ABS Business Register are in the Non-Profiled Population. Most of these businesses are understood to have simple structures. For these businesses, the ABS is able to use the Australian Business Number (ABN) as the basis for a statistical unit. One ABN equates to one statistical unit.

Profiled Population

15 For a small number of businesses, the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS economic statistics purposes and the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with businesses. These businesses constitute the Profiled Population. This population consists typically of large or complex groups of businesses. The statistical units model below caters for such businesses:
  • Enterprise group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
  • Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
    • a single legal entity or business entity, or
    • more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) subsector).
  • Type of activity unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an enterprise group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.

Coverage issues

16 The ANZSIC-based industry statistics presented in this publication are compiled differently from activity statistics. Each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to its single predominant industry class, irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken.

17 Some businesses engage in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. For example, a business may predominantly provide telecommunications services, however the data collected for it covers all activities of the business including activities that are not generally associated with businesses that provide information media and telecommunications services.

18 Similarly a business predominantly engaged in other activities but who also provide internet service provision (ISP) services for example, will not be in the estimates presented in this publication. They will however, be in scope of the Economic Activity Survey, the results of this survey are published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0).

19 Where a business makes a significant economic contribution to industries classified to different ANZSIC subdivisions, the ABS includes the business in the Profiled Population, and 'splits' the TAU's reported data between the industries involved. Significance is determined using total income.

20 A TAU's reported data are split if the inclusion of data relating to the secondary activity, in the statistics of the industry of the primary activity, distorts (by overstating or understating) either the primary or secondary industry statistics at the ANZSIC subdivision level by:
  • 3% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in the same ANZSIC division
  • 2% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in different ANZSIC divisions.

21 The ABS attempts to maintain a current understanding of the structure of the large, complex and diverse business groups that form the Profiled Population on the ABSBR, through direct contact with those businesses. Resultant changes in their structures on the ABSBR can affect:
  • the availability of such businesses (or units within them) for inclusion in the annual economic collections
  • the delineation of the units, within those groups, for which data are to be reported.

22 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses selected for direct collection and which ceased operation during the year but it is not possible to obtain data for all such businesses.

Improvements to coverage

23 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size. As an example, the effect of these adjustments is generally 4% or less for most ANZSIC industry divisions.

24 Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates for the period in which they commenced operation, rather than when they were processed to the ABSBR.

25 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).


26 This publication presents a wide range of data that can be used to analyse business and industry performance. Definitions for the data presented can be found in the Glossary.

27 Differences in accounting policy and practices across businesses and industries can lead to some inconsistencies in the data contributing to the statistics. Although much of the accounting process is subject to standards, there is still a great deal of flexibility left to individual managers and accountants through the accounting policies and practices they adopt. For example, the way profit is measured is affected by management policy about such issues as depreciation rates, bad debt provisions and write off, and goodwill write off. The varying degree to which businesses consolidate their accounts may also affect any industry performance measures calculated.

28 The above limitations are not meant to imply that analysis based on these data should be avoided, only that they should be borne in mind when interpreting the data presented in this publication.


29 In order to minimise the load placed on providers, the strategy for this survey was to use, as much as possible, information sourced from the ATO, thus reducing the size of the direct collect sample needed to maintain the range and quality of information available to users of statistical data. The frame (from which the direct collect sample was selected) was stratified using information held on the ABSBR. Businesses eligible for selection in the direct collect sample were then selected from the frame using stratified random sampling techniques.

30 Businesses were only eligible for selection in the survey (the direct collect sample) if their turnover exceeded a threshold level, or the business was identified as being an employing business (based on ATO information), as at the end of the reference period. Turnover thresholds were set for each ANZSIC class so that the contribution of surveyed businesses accounted for approximately 97.5% of total industry class turnover as determined by Business Activity Statement (BAS) data. A total sample of 1,116 businesses was selected for the directly collected IMT component of the EAS.

31 The IMT sample was fully integrated into the Economic Activity Survey. Full integration means that the same sample was used to produce estimates for both publications. Each business was asked to provide data sourced primarily from financial statements.

32 Businesses which met neither of these criteria are referred to as 'micro non-employing businesses'. These businesses were not eligible for selection in the sample. For these units, BAS data were obtained and annualised, then added to the directly collected estimates to produce the statistics in this publication. Refer to the Technical Note on the Estimation Methodology for more information.


33 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.

34 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in the data cubes have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.

Comparison with other ABS statistics

35 Key annual industry data for IMT Divisions and Subdivisions are also published in Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0). Both publications present estimates based on businesses classified to ANZSIC Division J (Information Media and Telecommunications).

36 This publication supplements the Australian Industry summary statistics with a detailed examination of the activities of businesses coded to Information Media and Telecommunications for the 2013-14 reference year. Any differences between the estimates presented are due to finer level data items and rounding. Refer to the Glossary for more detail about the data item definitions presented in this publication.

Historical comparisons

37 This is the first release of this publication and, for this reason, historical comparisons can not be made for all data items.


38 A range of further information is available, as described below.

Related publications

39 The following ABS publications present economy-wide and industry specific data:

40 The product level information collected from businesses surveyed in the 2013-14 Information Media and Telecommunications Industry Survey will be used to update benchmarks for Input-Output tables published by National Accounts in: Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables - (cat. no. 5209.0.55.001).

41 The IMT industry division does not attempt to define or measure the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. The ABS and the Department of Communications are in the process of jointly undertaking a review of ICT statistics. For more information refer to Discussion Paper: Submission Process for the Information and Communications Technology Statistics Review, 2014-15 (cat. no. 8179.0.55.001).

Other information available

42 The ABS issues a daily Release Advice on its web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

43 Inquiries about this or other ABS publications should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


44 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.

Use of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data in this publication

45 The results of these studies are based, in part, on tax data supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, which requires that such data are only used for statistical purposes. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the ATO for administrative or regulatory purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.

46 Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of these data have been followed. Only people authorised under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 have been permitted to view data about any particular organisation and/or person in conducting these analyses. No information about individual taxpayers (persons) has been released to the ABS. Aggregated personal income tax data are confidentialised by the ATO before release to the ABS. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.