Screen Aus reviews TV funding

By Morgan Hind

Screen Australia will review its television production funding in an attempt to ensure the national agency maximises its support for the local industry.

Screen Australia boss Ruth Harley hopes that the review will help “develop a new blueprint for Screen Australia’s support of the television production industry.”

"The television environment is changing dramatically and Screen Australia has not looked at how we fund television drama since the creation of the new organisation," she said in a statement. "The introduction of the 20 per cent Producer Offset for television allows us to explore how we can play a more active role in the creation of innovative television."

This financial year, Screen Australia provided over $35 million to television production, an amount it plans to match next financial year.

The review will focus on the agency's role in helping produce programming that is innovative and nationally significant. It will also look at funding eligibility requirements including minimum licence fees, hold back provisions and marketplace attachments, and evaluate current funding allocations for National Documentary Program projects.

The issue of license fees became an issue last year when Screen Australia knocked back a funding application for mini-series Cloudstreet due to concerns that SHOWTIME Australia's licence fee to production house Screentime was too low. However, ScreenWest took a more flexible view on license fees and invested $500,000 in the production, which recently finished filming.

The TV review is linked to the implementation of Screen Australia's new Terms of Trade, which remain largely unchanged from the late 2009 draft. The new terms will apply from July 1, 2010.

For more details on the review, click here.