The movie industry is one of the biggest and most profitable sectors of the Australian economy, with a total value of $7.9 trillion.
In 2018, the number of films and TV series produced in Australia increased by more than 12 per cent.
But despite this, the industry has seen a dramatic decline in the past decade, and that’s partly due to the advent of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Netflix and Prime membership costs can be prohibitively high, so many Australians have resorted to piracy, which is also increasingly prevalent.
“There’s no doubt that piracy is the number one thing that has taken us down in the last couple of years,” says Chris Walker, who manages the Australian Film and Television Centre at the University of Western Sydney.
“It’s an incredibly lucrative and lucrative industry, and I don’t think that we’ve really seen any real sign of slowing down.”
Walker says that there’s a “big shift” going on in the film industry from the 1960s onwards, which sees an increasing reliance on independent films.
The “indie resurgence” is a phenomenon that has seen studios including Universal and Disney, who are heavily invested in the business, move away from studio-produced films and into films produced by independent artists.
In some cases, independent film directors have been able to capture the attention of the big studios.
“The independent resurgence has really been a resurgence in the cinema industry in the way that studios have gone and bought up smaller independent films and then have them become a big part of the moviegoing experience,” Walker says.
“I think we’ve seen a huge shift in the films industry from being mostly a small number of independent films that had their own funding and they would just get produced by the studios and then that’s it.”
But independent film is a relatively small slice of the film market in Australia, which means that even the biggest movie studios have struggled to adapt their films to streaming services.
“They’ve really only had a very limited amount of funding to adapt to the platforms,” Walker explains.
For Walker, the key to the future of the industry lies in the emergence of streaming platforms. “
What we’re seeing is that they’re trying to find new ways of adapting their movies, and the studios are really trying to get a leg up on that by trying to buy up smaller indie films and trying to build up their own library of films.”
For Walker, the key to the future of the industry lies in the emergence of streaming platforms.
“When you look at the way streaming has evolved over the last decade, there’s something very special about it that is very different from anything that has ever been done before,” he says.