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Screen Industry Survey: 2008/09
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  28 April 2010
Commentary

Screen Industry Survey

The Screen Industry Survey collects information used to measure the size and nature of the New Zealand screen industry. The industry includes production, distribution, exhibition, and broadcasting of films, television programmes, and other moving-picture productions. The survey is posted to businesses involved in various aspects of the screen industry.

Data is from the Screen Industry Survey 2008/09 and is compared with the 2007/08 year unless specified.

Information about the screen industry

Screen industry refers to all businesses involved in the four sectors of production and post-production, television broadcasting, film and video distribution, and film exhibition. Businesses may work in multiple sectors in the screen industry.

 Chart, Structure of the screen industry.

Screen industry sectors

Production and post-production: Businesses in the production and post-production sector are involved in the making of screen production works, for example films, television programmes, and commercials. Work in this sector includes both production and post-production.

Production is all work leading up to and including filming. This includes development, pre-production, and principal photography.

Post-production is all activities involved in putting together scenes to make a production complete: for example, editing, visual effects, animation, developing, captioning and sub-titling, transfers or reproduction, and audio and duplication.

Television broadcasting: Television broadcasters air productions such as films and television programmes through media such as television and the Internet (including television on demand). They earn revenue from users subscribing to view programmes or channels, and from advertising aired on those channels.

Film and video distribution: Businesses in the film and video distribution sector are involved in distributing completed screen productions (for example, film, television, or software distributors, film library operators, and film leasers). Work in this sector includes marketing of productions.

Film exhibition: Film exhibitors show productions such as films to the public at cinemas, drive-in-theatres, or festivals, and as part of museum displays.

Gross revenue in the screen industry

The New Zealand screen industry recorded gross revenue of $2,806 million in the 2009 financial year, an increase of 3 percent from 2008, following a 10 percent increase in the previous year. Production and post-production was the most significant sector in the 2009 financial year, accounting for revenue of $1,347 million, an increase of 7 percent compared with 2008.

Post-production revenue ($483 million) accounted for more than a third of total production and post-production revenue, compared to just over one quarter in 2008. Post-production revenue increased by 51 percent between 2008 and 2009. By contrast, production revenue fell by 8 percent.

Television broadcasting revenue of $1,144 million was similar to that in the previous year. Film and video distribution revenue decreased 7 percent to $163 million, following a 9 percent fall in the previous year. Film exhibition was the only sector other than production and post-production that saw an increase this year. For the second year in a row film exhibition revenue increased, by 6 percent in 2009, to $153 million, following a 12 percent increase in the previous year.

Number of screen industry businesses

There were 20 percent more businesses operating in the screen industry in 2009 than in 2008 (2,673 compared to 2,223). The main movement was in the production and post-production sector, where the number of businesses increased by 21 percent. Within this sector, the number of businesses undertaking production increased 20 percent and businesses undertaking post-production increased 15 percent.

Within the production and post-production sector, work is carried out by both screen production companies, and individuals or businesses providing services to those companies on contract. While the number of screen production companies fell slightly, the number of contracting businesses increased by 27 percent. Large numbers of contracting businesses may be set up for a short period of time to cater for high demand for work on a specific project or projects. Demand for these businesses may or may not continue after the projects are completed.

Gross revenue for the production and post-production sector

Within the production and post-production sector, work is carried out by both screen production companies, and individuals or businesses providing services to those companies on contract. Data from the Screen Industry Survey relates to both these types of businesses.

Business structures within the sector

A screen production company creates work intended for final users, such as television stations, corporate customers, advertising agencies, or distributors.

A contractor is a freelancer, sole trader, individual, or business that provides services or equipment to another screen production entity on contract.

A business operating in the production and post-production sector can carry out both screen production company activities and contractor activities during the same year. For example, while a screen production company may work primarily on its own projects, it can also undertake contract work for other companies. Similarly, in some years contractors may complete their own screen productions.

Summary of movements in the production and post-production sector

In the 2009 year compared to 2008:

  • Revenue earned by screen production companies fell 6 percent to $873 million. 
  • Revenue earned by contractors increased by 45 percent to $474 million. 
  • In the sector overall, revenue increased 7 percent to $1,347 million.

Screen production companies generated less than two-thirds of the total gross revenue within the production and post-production sector. This is a fall from the previous year, when they made up nearly three-quarters of production and post-production revenue.

Graph, Gross revenue received by production and post-production sector businesses

Revenue by subsector

Production and post-production activity for both screen production companies and contractors is broken down into the following subsectors:

  • feature films 
  • television programmes 
  • commercials 
  • non-broadcast media 
  • other.

Screen production companies

Gross revenue received by screen production companies includes sales and funding income and payments from clients. It may include funding for work not yet completed. The total gross revenue for screen production companies in the 2009 financial year was $873 million, a 6 percent fall from 2008. Screen production company revenue in most subsectors fell, with the exception of television programme revenue. The most significant falls for screen production companies were in feature films, down 15 percent to $415 million, and commercials, down 24 percent to $97 million.

Contractors

In 2009, contractors received production and post-production revenue of $474 million, a 45 percent increase from 2008. While contractor revenue for all subsectors increased, feature films was the main driver, up 60 percent to $240 million.

The number of businesses involved in contracting also increased significantly in 2009, by 27 percent to 2,130. There was an increase in contracting businesses in all subsectors, with the most significant increase being for television programmes, where business numbers were up by one-third. The number of businesses involved in each of feature films, non-broadcast media, and other, all rose by nearly one-quarter.

Post-production revenue

Post-production is all of the activities involved in making a production complete, including editing, visual effects, animation, developing, and duplication.

Screen production companies

While total production and post-production revenue for screen production companies fell between 2008 and 2009, post-production revenue alone rose 64 percent to $254 million. Post-production revenue accounted for nearly 30 percent of total revenue for screen production companies, compared to 17 percent in 2008.

The most significant post-production activity by revenue was digital graphics, animation, or effects. At $196 million, this activity accounted for more than three-quarters of post-production revenue for screen production companies.

Contractors

Contractors’ post-production revenue also increased significantly, by 39 percent to $229 million. Again, digital graphics, animation, or effects was the highest contributor, accounting for nearly three-quarters of post-production revenue for contractors. Revenue for digital graphics, animation, or effects rose 41 percent to $166 million in 2009.

The number of contracting businesses involved in post-production also rose between 2008 and 2009, by 22 percent to 759. The number of contractors carrying out digital graphics, animation, or effects work increased by 52 percent from 288 to 438.

Graph, Post-production revenue received by contractors

Gross revenue for screen production companies by country

Screen production companies create work intended for final users. They are asked to report revenue received by country of origin.

Domestic sources contributed 60 percent ($525 million) of the total gross revenue for screen production companies ($873 million) in 2009. This is an increase over the previous year, when domestic sources contributed 42 percent of total screen production company revenue.

Revenue from international sources for screen production companies fell by 36 percent in 2009 to $348 million. Revenue from North America fell 43 percent, from $481 million to $275 million.

North America continued to be the most significant contributor in terms of screen production companies’ international revenue, accounting for 79 percent of international revenue in 2009.

Funding received by screen production companies

Screen production companies create work intended for final users. They work within the production and post-production sector and are asked to report funding received for projects they have worked on during the year. Funding is income received from government sources and the private sector with, in most cases, the expectation of recovery. It is used to help with costs and facilitate the production of a particular project or series of projects. Funding is a subset of revenue, and is included within the gross revenue figure.

Funding fell 9 percent between 2008 and 2009, from $644 million to $585 million. However, funding in 2009 was still significantly higher than in 2007, when $406 million of funding was received. Domestic funding increased for the second year in a row, rising 11 percent between 2008 and 2009 to reach $305 million. Domestic funding in 2009 accounted for more than 50 percent of total funding.

International funding fell by 24 percent between 2008 and 2009 to $280 million, although it was still more than 60 percent higher than in 2007. Funding from North America in 2009 was $235 million, 31 percent less than the funding from the United States alone in 2008 ($340 million). In the 2009 survey businesses were asked to report funding from North America, whereas in previous years funding from the United States and Canada was asked about separately.

As with international revenue for screen production companies, North America was the most significant international contributor to funding. In 2009 it accounted for 84 percent of international funding.

Graph, Funding received by screen production companies

Expenditure of screen production companies

Screen production companies create work intended for final users. They are asked to report their expenditure for projects across the subsectors of film, television programmes, commercials, etc, and are also asked to estimate how their total expenditure relates to regions they have worked in.

Expenditure on screen productions rose by 4 percent between 2008 and 2009 to $861 million. Auckland continued to be the region where most production money was spent. However, in 2009 it accounted for less than 50 percent of all expenditure, or $402 million, compared to 57 percent of total expenditure in 2008 ($471 million) and 67 percent in 2007.

The Wellington region continued to be the second most significant region in terms of expenditure. Spending in Wellington rose to 38 percent of total expenditure in 2009, or $323 million. By contrast, in 2008 Wellington accounted for 31 percent of total expenditure, or $258 million, and in 2007 only 19 percent.

Graph, Regional distribution of expenditure

Location of screen industry businesses

Locations of screen industry businesses are determined by using the reported physical location of each business. Where a business has more than one location, the location with the largest rolling mean employment (RME) count is used. While businesses may be physically located in these regions, they may spend money in several regions throughout New Zealand. Locations are relevant to all businesses that work in the screen industry, regardless of the sector they operate in.

Over half of all screen industry businesses in 2009 were located in the Auckland region, similar to previous years. Three in every 10 businesses were located in Wellington, again similar to previous years. No other region featured significant numbers of screen industry businesses. Overall, more than 90 percent of screen industry businesses were located in the North Island of New Zealand, and less than 10 percent were in the South Island.

Employment in the screen industry

Wage and salary figures and employment counts (rolling mean employment) only take into account salaried and waged employees, and exclude anyone working on contract. There are a number of types of businesses not in scope of the survey population, for example, actors and their agencies. For the purpose of wage and salary and employment figures, businesses are only included once, based on their primary business type.

Total salaries and wages for the screen industry in 2009 were $391 million, a 10 percent increase on the previous year. The number of employees also rose, by 4 percent from 6,700 to 7,000. Annual average salaries and wages increased in most sectors.


Television broadcasting as a sector continued to have the highest number of employees, followed by film exhibition. Businesses in these sectors tend to employ more staff on wages and salaries, whereas businesses in the production and post-production sector are more likely to use contracted staff.

Employees in the film exhibition sector earned salaries and wages of $17,567 on average, the lowest in the industry. Those earning the highest salaries and wages were employees of screen production companies within the production and post-production sector, who earned on average $84,943.

For technical information contact:

Geraldine Duoba
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz  

Next release . . .

Regional results will be released in May 2010, and full survey results will be published in August 2010.

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