Is it time to give up on Australian content?
When I first began this course, I said that I didn’t actually ‘trust’ Australian content and I would more often than not, search for reviews of an Australian film before I even considered watching it. Now, I’ve opened my mind to the development of Australian content, as it is obvious that we have come a long way from our ‘Boom & Bust’ period (Burns, A & Eltham, B 2010) of Crocodile Dundee and low budget ‘ocker sex comedies’ (Middlemost, R 2017). Australia produces not only impeccable actors but incredible writers as well, the production of our content is looking bright, it’s our distribution techniques and reaching the audience that we need to worry about.
‘Just Keep Swimming!’ (Finding Nemo, 2003). Maybe Australian content producers should listen to Dory?
This session has completely flipped my preconcieved ideas of Australian content, now of which I greet with open arms. Personally, I believe that the minds of domestic viewers would be changed in regards to Australian content if it were more accessible to viewers. It’s no secret that viewers are moving their way onto streaming services such as Netflix and Stan. ‘More and more, Australians are either complementing or replacing their consumption of live broadcast TV with streamed content.’ (Roy Morgan Research, 2013).
Home grown Australian films aren’t distributed onto as many screens as their international counterparts. If you wanted to view The Babadook in 2014, you would have had to find one of the 13 art house screens that were blessed with the psychological thriller. The reality of one of the 13 screens being within a reasonable distance is ridiculous, we as a nation need to have more faith in our home grown content.
As stated by Screen Australia in 2011, ’79 per cent of people agreed (32 per cent strongly) that Australian stories are vital for contributing to our sense of Australian national identity; while 75 per cent agreed (35 per cent strongly) that they would miss the Australian film and television industry if it ceased to exist.’ Granted it has been 7 years since this was written, however I would like to believe its true.
Screen Australia, 2015, Australian audiences are watching online
According to this infograph from Screen Australia, it displays that one of the main ‘traditional methods’ that viewers use to discover new content is ‘word of mouth’. This could be detrimental to Australian production as the preconcieved views of Australian content is isn’t good, which is more than likely what would be discussed.
It isn’t the Australian content that is ‘broken’ per say, its the way in which we distribute and market our content. ‘As producers seek new ways to reach the sought-after youth audience in particular, some have seized upon mobile phones as offering a renewed possibility of delivering product for the ‘on the go’ market.'(de Roeper, J & Luckman, S 2009, pp.8). Taking this into consideration, Australian producers know how to market to their target market and at a reduced cost, they just aren’t giving marketing and distribution the time for it to work efficiently with the audiences.
Overall, we’ll still have the classic first date at the cinema and my family will still gather around the television to watch My Kitchen Rules. It isn’t that we should give up on Australian content, it’s that we need to be patient with the development of distribution and marketing in order for Australian films to reach their full potential, both in the box office and with audiences.
Burns, A and Eltham, B 2010 “Boom and Bust in Australian Screen Policy: 10BA, the Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s ‘race to the bottom’”. Media International Australia. August 2010, No. 136, p 103-118.
Screen Australia, 2015, Australian audiences are watching online, Screen Australia, viewed 29th January 2018 <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/infographics/australian-audiences-are-watching-online>