1 This publication presents results from an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of businesses mainly engaged in film and video production and post-production services and an ABS census of businesses mainly engaged in television broadcasting, television channel provision and digital game development. This collection was funded by Screen Australia and was conducted in respect of the 2015-16 financial year. This is the seventh time the ABS has conducted some form of this collection, and the third time that digital game development has been included after its introduction in 2006-07. Previous statistics were released for the 2011-12, 2006-07, 2002-03, 1999-2000, 1996-97 and 1993-94 financial years.
2 The period covered by the collection is generally the 12 months ended 30 June 2016. Where businesses are 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. Such businesses make a substantial contribution to some of the estimates presented in this publication. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended June in the relevant year.
3 Although financial estimates relate to the full 12 months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June 2016. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.
4 Financial data incorporate all 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 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).
5 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:
- by industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0) and supplemented by population groups defined for use in this collection
- by state and territory
- by whether a business has produced drama or documentary content.
See below for further details on scope and coverage.
Structure of output populations
6 The following hierarchy shows the structure of the populations contributing to the Film, Television and Digital Games estimates. There are three distinct populations at the broadest level, and each level is the sum of its components. Note that while data for Public broadcasters are not separately published, they are included in the data for Broadcasters and channel providers. Definitions for these populations can be found in the Glossary.
- Film and video production and post-production businesses
- Film and video production businesses
- Film and video post-production businesses
- Broadcasters and channel providers
- Public broadcasters (not separately published)
- Commercial broadcasters and channel providers
- Commercial free-to-air broadcasters
- Subscription broadcasters and channel providers
- Digital game developers
7 Film and video production and post-production businesses are further split to describe businesses based on their reported activities:
- Drama and documentary production and post-production businesses
- Other production and post-production businesses
Survey of film and television production and post-production businesses
8 The scope of the Film and Video Production and Post-Production component of the survey included all employing and significant non-employing businesses classified on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) to the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0):
- ANZSIC class 5511 Motion picture and video production.
- ANZSIC class 5514 Post-production services and other motion picture and video activities.
9 For ANZSIC class 5511 Motion picture and video production, the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in producing films, videos and television programs or commercials. These productions are recorded and stored on a variety of analogue or digital visual media. These businesses are referred to as Film and video production businesses throughout this publication.
10 For ANZSIC class 5514 Post-production services and other motion picture and video activities the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in providing post-production services and other motion picture and video activities, including specialised film or video post-production services such as editing, film/tape transfers, titling, subtitling, credits, closed captioning and computer-produced graphics, animation and special effects, as well as developing and processing motion picture film. These businesses are referred to as Film and video post-production businesses throughout this publication.
11 For the purposes of this survey, significant non-employing businesses were defined as all non-employing businesses with an estimated annual turnover of at least $87,000 for film and video production and post-production businesses. This turnover threshold was selected so that the contribution of significant non-employing businesses, combined with all employing businesses, made up at least 97.5% of the total estimated annual turnover for all businesses classified to Classes 5511 and 5514 respectively.
Census of broadcasters and channel providers
12 The scope of the census of broadcasters and channel providers was a subset of all businesses classified, on the ABSBR, to the following classes of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0):
- ANZSIC class 5621 Free-to-air television broadcasting
- ANZSIC class 5622 Cable and other subscription broadcasting
13 For ANZSIC class 5621 Free-to-air television broadcasting the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in the free-to-air television broadcasting of visual content, in the form of electronic images together with sound, through broadcasting studios and facilities. These units may also produce or transmit visual programming to affiliated television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs on a pre-determined schedule. Transmissions are made available without cost to the viewer. Businesses classified to this class on the ABSBR were matched to external industry lists of television broadcast licence holders to ensure complete coverage of businesses was achieved. With the exclusion of Public Broadcasters, these businesses are referred to as Commercial free-to-air broadcasters throughout this publication.
14 For ANZSIC class 5622 Cable and other subscription broadcasting the scope included Australian businesses mainly engaged in broadcasting television programs on a subscription or fee basis (such as subscription cable or satellite television broadcasting). The scope also included businesses primarily engaged in the activity of the provision of television channels to subscription broadcasters. Businesses classified to this ANZSIC class on the ABSBR were matched to external lists of television broadcast licence holders and subscription television channel content providers to ensure complete coverage of businesses was achieved. These businesses are referred to as Subscription broadcasters and channel providers throughout this publication.
15 It should be noted that the scope for these businesses excludes any businesses engaged in broadcasting as secondary activity as well as community broadcasters. Due to the recent emergence of businesses primarily engaged in broadcasting over the internet this group have been included as part of Subscription broadcasters and channel providers despite being predominantly classified to ANZSIC class 5700 Internet publishing and broadcasting.
Census of digital game developers
16 The census of digital game developers included all Australian businesses that generated income predominantly from the development of digital games for a range of formats (major consoles, handheld consoles, personal computers, tablets and mobile phones).
17 These units were primarily identified using an external listing of digital game developers provided by industry associations, and supplementary research. The population covers a range of ANZSIC classes as there is no specific ANZSIC class for digital game development. In scope units have been found to be predominantly coded to ANZSIC class 7000 (Computer system design and related services).
18 In scope businesses will generally have the capability and staff to develop a digital game from start to finish, but may outsource particular components of a project to other businesses with more technical expertise (e.g. to animation studios). Conversely, these units may also provide game development services to other game developers, rather than developing full game titles on their own. These businesses are referred to as Digital game developers throughout this publication.
19 It should be noted that the scope does not include businesses that provide support services to game development businesses, such as animation or sound studios, or businesses that primarily develop gaming machines (i.e. poker machines) or primarily provide education or training. Businesses that primarily provide software development services, develop board games or interactive DVD games are also excluded from the scope.
Scope of estimates
20 There are three distinct types of data output in Film, Television and Digital Games: financial activity data, production activity data, and employment activity data. Specific types of business contribute to the different data cubes in this publication as described below. All financial estimates are expressed in current prices.
21 Financial activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, excluding Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cubes 1, 3, 4 and 5 on the ABS website.
22 Production activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, including Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cube 2 on the ABS website.
23 Employment activity data - All businesses in scope of the survey, excluding Public broadcasters. These data are presented in data cubes 1, 3, 4 and 5 on the ABS website.
24 The frame used for the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, like most ABS economic collections, was taken from the ABSBR.
25 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. In mid 2002, the ABS commenced sourcing its register information from the Australian Business Register (ABR) and at that time changed its business register to a two population model. The two populations comprise what is called 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.
26 The majority of businesses included on the ABSBR 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.
27 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 typically consists 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.
28 Estimates of businesses at end June in this publication are based on the statistical units model that includes both the non-profiled and profiled populations. For some sub-populations such as commercial free-to-air broadcasters, which are characterised by large or complex groups of businesses. The estimates could be driven by changes in the groupings and profiling of business entities within the TAU, both of which are under constant review by the ABSBR.
29 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.
30 Some businesses engage, to a significant extent, in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. 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.
31 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.
32 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
33 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.
34 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.
35 For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).
Comparison with other ABS statistics
36 Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0) publishes annual industry data for the Australian economy at the ANZSIC subdivision level. There are important differences between the statistics published in the Australian Industry and Film, Television and Digital Games publications, and users should exercise caution when making comparisons between the two sets of estimates.
37 Australian Industry presents annual summary statistics at the ANZSIC division and subdivision level. It shows the relative performance of each industry division and subdivision, and allows patterns of change or growth to be analysed across particular segments of the Australian economy.
38 Film, Television and Digital Games supplements Australian Industry statistics with a detailed examination of the structure, performance and activity of businesses engaged in the activities of television broadcasting, film and video production or post-production and digital game development. As such, the collection is not designed to monitor change accurately over time.
39 These surveys use different industry coding practices. For Australian Industry, businesses are coded to ANZSIC classes on the basis of the activity reported to the ATO when registering for an ABN, or for more complex businesses, on the basis of information reported directly to the ABS (see coverage section above). For Film, Television and Digital Games, however, businesses are coded to ANZSIC classes 5511, 5514, 5621 and 5622 on the basis of detailed financial data reported in the collection. Adjustments were made to the data to remove the contribution of businesses that were found to be incorrectly coded to ANZSIC classes 5511, 5514, 5621 and 5622.
40 Businesses were also coded as Digital game developers on the basis of detailed financial data reported in the collection. As there is no unique ANZSIC category for digital game development services, a list of digital game development businesses was initially manually compiled by the ABS (see paragraphs 16-19 for more details). Adjustments were then made to remove the contributions of businesses that were found to be incorrectly coded as Digital game developers.
41 Other differences in results relate to further scope variations between the two collections. Non-employing units below the thresholds identified in paragraph 11 are excluded from the scope of Film, Television and Digital Games but included in the scope of Australian Industry.
42 While comparisons are made in this publication between 2015-16 and 2011-12, the reader should bear in mind that the collections were not designed to support accurate estimates of change, and exercise caution when comparing 2015-16 results to the 2011-12 results for several reasons, as described below.
Changes in scope
43 For the 2015-16 collection, emerging business primarily engaged in broadcasting over the internet were included in estimates for subscription broadcasters and channel providers. These businesses are predominantly classified to ANZSIC Class 5700 Internet publishing and broadcasting but were supplemented onto the ANZSIC 5622 frame. They were not included in the scope of the 2011-12 collection.
Changes in methodology
44 Users should exercise caution when comparing results to previous survey in 2011-12. For the 2015-16 survey a number of data items were expanded or grouped together to reflect the changing nature of the industry, and some items may not be directly comparable. For example the format of the data contained in the sources of income table for Digital game developers has two different categories from 2011-12:
- an expanded total multiplatform game development category;
- and a collapsed other income category that now includes royalties for digital games.
Australian international financial reporting standards
45 The Australian International Financial Reporting Standards (AIFRS) were progressively implemented in Australia from 1 January 2005. As a result, a number of items in the financial accounts of Australian businesses were affected by changed definitions at the time, which in turn affected both income and balance sheets. A range of ABS economic collections source data from financial accounts of businesses and use those data to derive economic statistics. There have been no changes in the associated economic definitions.
46 Since the implementation of AIFRS, analysis of published time series data has indicated structural breaks in series. The magnitude of such breaks, however, cannot be determined without imposing a disproportionate load upon data providers to ABS surveys and other administratively collected data. The ABS will continue to monitor developments and report any significant impacts as a result of AIFRS.
47 A sample of 1,202 businesses was selected for the 2015-16 Film, Television and Digital Games Survey. Each business was asked to provide data sourced primarily from financial statements, mainly by online questionnaires. Businesses were also asked to supply key details of their operations by state and territory, enabling production of the state/territory estimates. Additionally for this survey, businesses were asked to provide selected measures of production activity, such as the number and type of productions and hours for which they were responsible.
Effects of rounding
48 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.
49 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.
50 A range of further information is available, as described below.
Other information available
52 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on its web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.
53 Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
54 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.