Film, Television and Digital Games Survey- Film and Television Production, Post-Production and Broadcasting

Survey Participant Information

Film and Television Production, Post-Production and Broadcasting

This help page is for businesses selected in the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey operating in the following industries:

  • Motion Picture and Video Production
  • Post-production Services and Other Motion Picture and Video Activities
  • Free-to-air Television Broadcasting
  • Cable and Other Subscription Broadcasting
  • Internet Publishing and Broadcasting

For links to the help pages for other industries and general information about Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, please see this page.

Employment

What should be reported in employment?

Employment is a headcount of all persons who worked for the business as proprietors, partners, salaried directors or other employees in the last pay period ending in June 2022. Employment should be reported at this final pay period even if it was not the last pay period in the business' financial reporting year. Report headcount rather than number of persons on a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) basis. The count excludes casual or seasonal employees who are on the payroll but did not work during this final pay period.

Proprietors, partners, salaried directors and other employees should be included in both Question 4 and Question 5. Please ensure each person is counted only once to provide an accurate total number of persons.

What should be reported in working proprietors and partners?

If you are the owner-operator or partner of an unincorporated business, include yourself (and other partners) in Question 4(a) and in the relevant section of Question 5. Owners/directors of Pty Ltd companies are not working proprietors and should be included in Question 4(b). Non salaried directors are excluded and should not be counted in Employment.

How should I categorise employment by primary role?

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 last pay period in June 2022. Employees who perform multiple roles should therefore only be reported once in Question 5.

What about employees working for the business under contract?

  • Contractors and subcontractors who are other businesses, (i.e. have their own ABN and are paid on a fee for service or commission only basis), should not be counted in Employment.
  • If this business paid another business for contract staff, and those people were on the payroll of the other business, those people should not be counted in Employment for this business.
  • Persons employed on a fixed-term contract, should be included as permanent full-time or permanent part-time employees if they were paid through the payroll in the last pay period of June 2022 and Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax was deducted for them.

Production activity

What is meant by production activity?

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. Production income from productions for which a business had prime responsibility for producing in Australia should be reported in Production activity (Questions 6 to 12). Where a business provided production services to another business, such as directing or cinematography, that income should be reported in Income from the provision of production services to other businesses (Question 14).

Some examples of production activity include:

  • Motion picture production
  • Television program production
  • Television commercial production
  • Webisode production, production of content made primarily for digital release

What production activity should be reported?

The Production activity section of the form aims to measure the production activity that occurred in Australia during the reference period. To avoid double counting, you should only report productions for which the business had prime responsibility for undertaking the production in Australia. Some common scenarios explaining what production activity you should report are detailed below:

Scenario One
This business is a broadcaster and during the reference period it commissioned a production company to make a program for its network. Which business should report the production activity for this program?
The broadcaster should not report any production activity for this program. If the production company is also asked to complete the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, then 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.

Scenario Two
This business is a broadcaster and hired contractors to work on a program the network is producing. Which business should report production activity for this program?
As the broadcaster has prime responsibility for producing the program, you should report all related production activity. If the contractors who worked on the program were also asked to complete the Film, Television and Digital Games Survey, they should not report the production activity for this program.

Scenario Three
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.

Scenario Four
This business 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 should I report production activity?

The Production activity section of the form asks for information on Commercials and Program Promotions (Questions 6 and 7), Film and video productions not for television (Questions 8 and 9) and Television productions (Questions 10 and 11). All three categories include a question requiring estimates on content developed for first release on a digital platform.

Government funding, including offsets, which relates to a specific production should be reported in Production activity. See the Other income and Tax offsets and rebates FAQ sections below for more information.


Commercials and program promotions (Question 6)

Businesses that are commissioned by agencies or clients for the production of commercials and program promotions should report the production costs here.

  • Number of productions - each commercial and promotion that the business had prime responsibility for producing during 2021-22 should be reported as one production. This includes incomplete productions.
  • Production income - all income earned by the business from work on commercial and program promotions should be reported in this section, excluding Royalties income (report in Question 19). Note that Production income includes investments (both public and private), as reported on the business’ Income Statement.
  • Production expenses - includes all development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs incurred. This would include costs for producing commercial and promotions that are not yet complete and capitalised costs.

 

Film and video productions not for television (Question 8)

Production activity for all film and video programs this business had prime responsibility for producing should be reported in this question, including digital content related to these film and video productions.

  • Number of productions - each title that the business had prime responsibility for producing during 2021-22 should be reported as one production. This includes incomplete productions.
  • Production income - all income earned by the business from work on film and video production should be reported in this section, excluding Royalties income (report in Question 19). Note that Production income includes investments (both public and private), as reported on the business’ Income Statement.
  • Production expenses - includes all development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs incurred. This would include costs for producing programs that are not yet complete and capitalised costs..
  • Film and video production types - definitions for the different types of film and video productions are included in the Glossary.


Television productions (Question 10)
Production activity for all television programs this business had prime responsibility for producing should be reported in this question, including digital content related to television programs.
Question 10 asks you to report by number of completed first release broadcast hours and related production income and production costs, including capitalised costs, by television production types.

  • First release broadcast hours - should be calculated using a program's scheduled running time including commercial breaks. All completed hours of television during 2021-22 should be reported whether or not they have been broadcast.
  • Production income - all income earned by the business from work on television production should be reported in this section, excluding Royalties income (report in Question 19). Note that this income includes investments (both public and private), as reported on the business’ Income Statement.
  • Production expenses - includes all development, pre-production, shoot and post-production costs incurred. This includes costs for producing programs that are not yet complete and capitalised costs..
  • Television production types - definitions for the different types of television productions are included in the Glossary


Some common questions regarding production activity are outlined below:

Scenario One
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. What should be reported?
For broadcast hours, please report the number of completed broadcast hours. In this case you would only report the 14 episodes that have been completed. For production income, report all income in the Income statement received during the reference period for this production, including government funding and offsets. For production expenses, you need to report all the production costs incurred during the reference period, even for those episodes that aren't complete.

Scenario Two
This business completed 12 episodes in the reference 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 income in the Income statement received during the reference period for this production should be reported, including government funding and offsets. All production expenses associated with producing completed and incomplete programs incurred during the reference period should also be reported.

Scenario Three
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 'First release broadcast hours', so you should report 10 episodes at 60 minutes each, or 10 hours total.

Other income

What is the difference between production and post-production?

Production and post-production are 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. Some examples of production services include executive producing, directing, cinematography, rental of facilities (e.g. studios) and/or equipment with crew.
  • 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 14 and 15 refer to income from the provision of production services to other businesses. Questions 16 to 18 refer to income from the provision of post-production services to other businesses.

What is the difference between production income and income from the provision of production services to other businesses?

Production income refers to income earned by businesses from the production of film, television and video content 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' Income statement. Examples of production income include 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 commercials and program promotions should be reported at Question 6, income related to film and video should be reported at Question 8 and income related to television at Question 10.

Income from the provision of production services refers to income received by businesses for providing production services to other businesses. Effectively, this means 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) producer fees, line production fees, director fees, cinematography and rental of facilities and/or equipment with crew.

In general, if a business is responsible for producing an entire production (e.g. a commercial, film or TV program), then this income should be reported as production activity in Questions 6, 8 and 10. This includes businesses that are producing a film in Australia, which is financed or managed by a foreign company.

Income reported on the form should be a reflection of the business’ Income Statement. If the 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.

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:

Scenario One
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. How should the production company report income related to the telemovie?
As the production company had prime responsibility for producing the telemovie, the production company should report any income earned in relation to this production as production income (Question 10).

Scenario Two
An animation company was contracted by a production company to provide animation services on a movie the production company was producing. How should the animation company report income related to this movie?
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 animation company should report the income under post-production services (Question 16).

Scenario Three
An Australian business is set up by an overseas production company to produce a movie in Australia. How should the Australian business report income related to this movie?
The Australian business should report income earned in relation to the movie as production income (Question 8) as they had prime responsibility for producing the movie in Australia.

How should I report royalties income?

Royalties income (Question 19) includes payments received under licensing arrangements, payments for the use of patents and copyrights, income derived from program format rights and income from franchising fee's. 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 the 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 the Production activity section.

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 productions’). If the business has earned royalties from any sources other than film, television or video these should be recorded under the 'Other royalties' category (Question 19(b)).

Question 20 requires a breakdown by percentage for the country or region where royalties income has been derived during the reference period. If the business does not have this exact information, careful estimates are allowed.

How should I report income from broadcasting and channel provision?

Questions 21 to 23 relate to income from broadcasting only. All income earned by the business from television broadcasting or channel provision activities should be reported in these questions.

Income from broadcasting of advertising/commercials (Question 21)

Any income earned from advertising and commercials should be reported at this question. This includes the business’ share of any revenue from the sale of advertising on subscription television channels, split between broadcasters and channel providers.

Income from subscription fees and charges (Question 22)

Any income earned from subscription fees for broadcasting television should be reported at this question. This includes any revenue received from the provision of subscription TV channels to broadcasters, as well as video-on-demand services.

Income from affiliation fees (Question 23)

Any income earned from fees received from an affiliated network or network services for the right to broadcast the network's programs should be reported at this question.

Where do I report government funding or investment?

Government funding or investment received for a specific project should be reported in Production activity at Question 6, 8 or 10 (for commercials and program promotions, film and video productions or television productions). It may include funding and investment received from government agencies such as Screen Australia or other state funding bodies.

Tax offsets and rebates related to a specific production should also be reported in Questions 6, 8 and 10 if they are recorded as income on the business' Income statement. This includes the Producer Offset, Location Offset and PDV Offset. More information on reporting offsets and rebates is included under Tax Offsets and Rebates below.

All other government funding or investment received by a business should be treated as 'Other income' and reported at Question 27. This includes funding for operational costs that were not project based, for example, payroll subsidies, travel grants, export marketing grants and R&D offsets. Other government funding could also refer to funding for specific capital items, such as business vehicles or production equipment.

Expenses

How should I report Labour costs?

  • Wages and salaries including provisions for employee entitlements (Question 29(a)) does not include contractors or sub-contractors operating under their own ABN. Please report gross (i.e. before tax) wages and salaries. Capitalised wages and salaries (i.e. wages and salaries for work relating to the creation of capital assets) should be excluded.
  • Payments made to another business for recruitment services (i.e. conducting interviews, screening job applicants) and supply of staff on a fee or contract basis, where the staff entitlements are paid by the business supplying the employees, should be recorded in Payments to other businesses (e.g. employment agencies) for staff (Question 29(b)). Any costs incurred by your business in the conduct of its own recruitment processes should be reported separately to Labour costs in the relevant expense item.
  • Other labour costs (Question 29(c)) includes labour costs not reported elsewhere such as employer contributions paid into superannuation. This does not include personal superannuation contributions for business owners not drawing a wage. Additionally, payroll tax should be included. Payroll tax is levied by State/Territory governments on businesses with large payrolls (usually greater than $0.5 million for the year). It does not refer to income tax withholding for employees (Pay As You Go tax).

How should I report Payments to contractors and businesses for services?

All payment to contractors should be reported in the appropriate production-related service. The breakdown requested covers services specific to film, television and video industries. Production related services that are not industry specific (such as catering and cleaning) should be included in Payments to contractors and businesses for other services (Question 31(d)).

You may wish to refer to the business' Creditors report to obtain this breakdown. If the business does not have a Creditors report, careful estimates are acceptable.

Digital content development services (Question 31(c)) captures the amount that businesses pay to contractors and other businesses for the development of content relating to their productions. For this reason, payments to contractors for developing or maintaining a corporate website should be excluded, and instead reported at Other payments to contractors and businesses for services (Question 31(d)).

What is the difference between depreciation and amortisation expenses, program rights expensed and royalties expenses?

Amortisation of productions and program rights 
This represents the reduction 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' financial statements.

Other depreciation and other amortisation expenses 
All other assets that are depreciated or amortised through this business' financial statements, other than those related to productions and program rights, should be reported in this question.

Program rights expensed 
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 
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.

What should be reported in Other expenses?

This question is where the remainder of the business' operational expenses will be reported, provided they have not been separately requested in any other expense question. Capitalised expenses should be excluded. Payments made under the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme should also be excluded.

Tax offsets and rebates

What kind of tax offsets and rebates are specifically relevant to the film and television industries?

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 for a film.
  • Location Offset - tax offset offered on qualifying costs for filming in Australia.


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 this 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 44 asks for tax offsets and rebates the business received from national or state government and the nature and amount of the three largest items received. The total of all tax rebates and offsets received should be reported here regardless of how these are treated in the business’ Income Statement.

Question 45 asks whether any of the offsets or rebates received have been recorded as Production income at Questions 6, 8 and 10, and if so, what amount. Rebates and offsets should only be reported as Production income if they are recorded as income on the business' Income Statement.

Question 46 asks whether any of the offsets or rebates received were deducted from Production expenses at Questions 6, 8 and 10, and Expenses (Question 29 to 41), and if so, what amount.  Rebates and offsets should only be deducted from expenses if they are treated as deductions on the business’ Income Statement.

Multi-state operations

How should I report data on Multi-state operations?

Multi-state data is only requested from businesses that are expected to have multi-state operations. If your form includes a question on multi-state operations, you are required to report the business' employment, wages and salaries and income by state/territory. If the business has been requested to report multi-state data but only operated in one state during the reference period, then all activity should still be reported at that state. Some common examples of multi-state operations are explained below:

Scenario One
The production company is based in Melbourne, but from April to July it conducted a 4 month shoot in rural Queensland for a film it is producing. How should this be reported?

Assuming a production office was set up in Queensland, then this should be reported in the following way:

Employment & Wages and 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 the business in Victoria, but travelled to Queensland to work on the shoot, should be reported against Victoria.

Total 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.

Scenario Two
The PDV business operates in 2 states but only has one set of accounts. The head office is in NSW and the second location is in Canberra. How should this be reported?
Income should be split between the two states/territories. If the business' accounts are not set up to adequately separate this item, you can supply a careful estimate of this split.
Employment and Wages & salaries should be reported against the state where the employees are located.

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