Record $2.29b spent on Australian dramas

A record $2.29 billion was spent on scripted drama in Australia over the past financial year, but some parts of the industry have struggled to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Local productions attracted $1.5 billion, and almost $780 million was spent on foreign productions, according to a report from Screen Australia on 162 projects filmed here or finalised in post-production.

That represents an increase of $350 million on total spend compared with 2020/21.

Australian feature films attracted $786 million in funding, with 45 per cent of that from governments and government agencies.

A jump in subscription video on demand and subscription TV dramas also contributed to the record spend.

While children's drama, free-to-air TV and broadcast video on demand increased revenue over the past year, they have not returned to previous highs.

Some 278 hours of general drama for free to-air television and catch-up services was filmed over the year, attracting $208 million, which is eight per cent below the five-year average.

Productions in New South Wales attracted more than $1 billion in spending, followed by Victoria at $556 million.

Overall foreign production spend declined, but blockbusters filmed or finalised here, including Ticket to Paradise, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, The Flash and the Marvel movies, provided a boost.

Screen Australia chief executive Graeme Mason said hitting the $2 billion mark was an incredible milestone for the local industry.

"To have local productions make up 66 per cent of this spend is extraordinary. Distinctly Australian stories continue to captivate audiences here and overseas," Mr Mason said in a statement.

Local productions that did particularly well in overseas markets were young adult dramas Heartbreak High and Bump, as well as children's show Bluey.

The number of hours of children's television increased by 12 per cent compared with the previous financial year. However, changing screen habits and amendments to content regulations have contributed to an overall decline since 2018/19.

"We know the value and power of Australian children's stories, and it's vital for our kids and our national identity that Aussie children are able to see themselves reflected on screen," Mr Mason said.

Upcoming Australian blockbusters include Force of Nature, a sequel to The Dry, the True Colours mystery series, and Youtube hit Meta-Runner.