Thursday 30 July 2015

Screen Australia's CEO makes some interesting remarks about the future of local film production

A little while ago I mentioned that Screen Australia announced it is workshopping some new approaches to building pride in Australian film. I had a further email exchange. One element was that a PR consultancy had been hired to help. The chosen firm advertises on its website that it isfor shaking things up. Disrupting industries, creating new markets and new companies. We're for culture that fuels creativity and innovation. We help build trust and get teams to work harder and be happier. We're for new models, new theories, new ways of working for this century, not the last one.” ...and on it goes.


So onward. SA’s Chief Executive has just spoken about the future and released a new discussion paper which you can find here. He didn’t seem to go to building pride in Australian film. Here’s part of what SA’s press release said. Local independent films are facing an increasingly tough, and crowded, marketplace. Audience expectation of where and how they see these films is changing rapidly. The benchmark for specialist film box office has been drastically lowered. We are not alone here, these trends are international.” ...: “Long-heralded transformations wrought by digital disruption are well and truly upon us. Blockbusters dominate an increasingly crowded theatrical environment while the traditional DVD market is in sharp decline. Newer ancillaries, like VOD platforms, are yet to deliver back recoupment dollars into the ecosystem. It is becoming harder for independent films to find their audiences amidst an avalanche of content, and it is harder for them to attract marketplace finance.” A key part of Screen Australia’s role is to assist screen businesses to navigate these changes and to take advantage of the opportunities they present. - See more 


I cant help wondering just what is meant by "the benchmark for specialist film box office has been drastically lowered". That's an interesting development....



  1. Good to see that ScrOz is acknowledging that tough conditions in the market -place are a factor in the box-office achievements of Australian films, rather than the usual blame attributed to the films and the filmmakers. Until fair and equitable conditions for locally produced films can be achieved in the market-place, our films will always be in jeopardy. It's not easy to address this problem but it needs to be examined thoroughly. I've said all this before.

    I'd also like to qualify the widely-held assumption that DVDs are dying. Ask distributors. The ones I speak to say that DVD sales have fallen, especially for films aimed at younger audiences, but they are still holding at a pretty good level among older age groups, enough to justify distributors being expansive in their acquisition programs. It should also be noted that the decline appears to be mainly in feature films aimed at the home entertainment market: DVD sales of social documentaries are still solid. The mass entertainment market has historically never been good for social docos, regardless of the delivery platform. But DVDs can be quite robust for niche markets.

  2. Most interesting Andrew. Thanks. Perhaps our national lack of interest in adopting fast broadband has preserved the DVD market more than in the US at least. Given that DVDs, and the Blu-ray successor, have a far greater capacity to deliver extras and HD their continuing appeal over the downloading and streaming options is clear.


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