Survey reveals stability of SA’s commercial production industry


The results of the 4th Commercial Producers Industry Survey 2008, released on Tuesday 25 November by the Commercial Producers Association of South Africa and the Gauteng Film Commission, indicate that the sector continues to produce a relatively stable number of commercials, using more shoot days but for higher budgets per commercial.

The good news was that for the period 1 May 2007 to 30 April 2008, the International/South Africa commercials (originated by foreign agencies, which are produced and directed by SA director based companies) market grew, as did the use of South African directors on a year-by-year basis. However, a decrease was recorded in the number of local (originated by SA agencies and produced by SA director based production companies) and service (originated by foreign agencies, produced by foreign production companies with the assistance of SA service companies).

The survey sample comprises 32 commercial production companies, members of the CPA. The survey adopted a conservative approach and expenditure, income and turnover by the entire industry is assumed to be at least and definitely more than what is presented by the survey results. The total billable value for all commercial productions during the 2007/2008 period was just under R765 million while expenditure measured totalled over R555 million.

The respondents reported that they produced 727 commercials in the 2007/2008 period, including 13 commercials shot in High Definition, totalling 1603 shoot days, an average of 220 days per commercial. The average budget per commercial, for all types produced, was just over R1million.

In addition, an increasing amount of work is being originated from outside South Africa, with the international/South African commercials market growing and South African directors being used on an increasing basis year-on-year for participating companies. Mostly due to a large increase in International/SA billable value, 2007/2008 showed a notable increase in total billable value for all types of commercials over 2005/2006. This follows the small increases of 2006/2007 from the previous year.

It appears that although the use of other locations outside of the 2 key audio-visual location provinces of Gauteng and the Western Cape increased in 2007/2008, compared with the previous year, the two most popular locations continue to be Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Overall, the number of commercials showed an increase for the first three years of the survey and then a negligible decrease in 2007/2008, with the decrease attributed to the reducing numbers of Service commercials.

Participating companies have on average been producing more commercials each year, until 2007/2008, which shows a 5.32% decrease in the average number of commercials produced per company. However, shoot days and average shoot days per commercial increased from 2006/2007 to 2007/2008, both by about 4%, with a concurrent 17.56% increase in budgets per commercial.

When evaluating the total billable value versus total billable expenditure of the 20 companies which participated over the 4 year period, it is interesting to note that while the total number of commercials produced decreased by 0.34%, the total billable value increased by 17.17% from 2006/2007 to 2007/2008 and the total billable expenditure decreased by 6.87% over the same period.
One of the key findings of the survey is that production companies in this sector must pay more attention to BBBEE as participants reported a below average performance in terms of ownership and equity.

The survey, which is carried out for the Commercial Producers Association South Africa by Evolutions Research Solutions, was sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission and the Cape Film Commission, in the interests of obtaining comprehensive and sustained data on the country’s audio visual industry sector.


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