The Producer Offset (PO) changed the way the Australian Government supported the production of Australian screen stories.
Since the PO opened for business on July 1, 2007, support shifted from tax benefits for private investors to direct financial support for the people producing screen content: more producers now have greater equity in their own productions, which has had a dramatic effect on the industry. The PO also created a new “market door” for producers looking for finance, separate to and next to the option of direct funding from Screen Australia.
The PO was intended to:
- assist the industry to be more competitive and responsive to audiences, by backing producers to take their projects to market;
- provide a real opportunity for producers to retain substantial equity in their productions;
- encourage Australian talent to return home to work on Australian projects;
- attract foreign investment, encouraging diverse projects of scale and global ambition; and
- encourage private investor interest in the screen industry
- 91% of surveyed production companies indicated that the PO was “critically important” to the operation of their businesses.
- 92% of respondents considered their equity stake in projects had increased since the introduction of the PO, with 61% indicating that it had “significantly increased.”
- 98% of companies working in the TV/ streaming sector retained all of their PO equity.
- While 37% of respondents working on features had traded some equity, the majority of these respondents retained at least half of their equity stake.
- Where equity in feature film projects was traded it was most commonly traded to Australian private investors (36%) followed by foreign private investors (15%) and local cast (15%).
- 87% of respondents said the PO contributed to their ability to consistently produce content.
- The Producer Offset has positively contributed to business revenue.
- Producers and broadcasters consistently called for the Offset to be lifted to 40% for all projects.
- Most respondents called for the abolition of the 65 hour cap on projects, as it was seen to work against the production of successful series.
- Respondents called for reform of the definition of formats including documentary, as certainty is needed.