Australia’s 69 commercial free-to-air broadcasters collectively lost $364.8 million despite posting $4.25 billion in revenues in 2011-2012.
Spending on Australian programming amounted to $1.39 billion (up from $1.26 billion) while imported programs accounted for $465.6 million (previously $432.6 million), for a total of $1.86 billion.
That’s according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Broadcasting Financial Results report for 2011-12, released today.
The losses were due primarily to massive asset write-downs at the Nine and Ten networks.
Reflecting the weaker economy, advertising revenues fell to $3.8 billion from $3.97 billion the prior year when the broadcasters notched a net profit of $807.6 million.
In local content, adult drama accounted for $116.6 million (down from $137.1 million), children’s drama $11.3 million (up from $9.7 million), other children’s $13.7 million and local documentaries just $10.8 million (compared with $12.6 million and $22.7 million in the two prior years).
The biggest categories were news and current affairs at $378.6 million, Australian sport $344.7 million, light entertainment variety $280.7 million and other light entertainment $222.6 million. Other local programming totalled $14.4 million.
Broadcasters spent $379.5 million on foreign drama (down from $398 million) and $86 million (more than double the prior year's $34.5 million) on other imported programming.