A Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by Free TV reveals the immense value Australians place on free, universally accessible news, entertainment, sport and drama.
The Deloitte research also quantifies the substantial contribution commercial television makes to the economy, contributing $2.3 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2019, employing more than 16,000 people and investing $1.6 billion annually in producing Australian content.
The Everybody Gets It report found that 89 per cent of Australians think commercial television is a valuable service and 76 per cent believe it is more important than ever, while 86 per cent think it supports Australian culture.
Audience surges of 15-20 per cent during the peaks of the Covid-19 and bushfire crises suggest that Australians turn to commercial television in times of uncertainty – and expect it to be there for them. In this context, it is no surprise that news emerged as the primary reason people give for watching commercial television – 75 per cent of respondents said they trust commercial television news.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “In commissioning this report, Free TV Australia wanted to shine a light on our industry and its many contributions to Australia’s society and culture. We were also keen to ‘take the temperature’ of our audiences to understand the value they place on this free, universal service.
“It turns out that despite increased competition, Australians value commercial television even more than we expected. Access to local entertainment, news and sport is a very big deal for viewers, with 95 per cent telling us that losing commercial television would have an impact on society, particularly through the loss of access to news, sport and entertainment.”
The Deloitte Access Economics analysis found of the $2.3 billion economic activity, the industry indirectly contributed $1.3 billion to the wider Australian economy last year, spanning motion picture and sound recording, scientific and technical services, retail and finance. Deloitte also found that the industry facilitated $4.4 billion in additional economic benefit in 2019 from advertising.
John O’Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics Partner and report co-author said: “Commercial television makes a strong economic contribution to Australia and is critical to the Australian screen production industry. The sector also continues to drive innovation through its content and use of new digital technologies to remain competitive, but our consumer research found it is the social and cultural contributions of the industry including trusted news, universal service provision and Australian stories that Australians continue to value most from this important industry.”
Commercial television is a stronghold of shared cultural experience available to 97 per cent of Australians at the click of a button, for free, and 93 per cent of Australians believe it should stay that way. Other report findings include: