Australian Content for Australian Communities Initiative

What is the Australian Content for Australian Communities (ACAC for short) Initiative?

This Initiative is an effort to achieve a number of benefits and improve conditions for smaller cinemas and Australian content producers. The objective is to help bring the Australian exhibition industry forward by encouraging the implementation of evolutionary practices that have been implemented in other parts of the world but have yet to materialise in Australia.

SCO has done extensive analysis of the business of exhibition and distribution in other countries where smaller cinemas and local content producers thrive. The ACAC initiative hopes to demonstrate and educate our industry in these practices.

As has been shown in those regions, the Australian Cinema and Exhibition industry will see improvements in the following areas:

  1. Exhibitors will see greatly reduced overhead costs, reduced labour costs and most importantly less restrictive access to content as a result.
  2. Distributors will see greatly reduced costs and labour while also opening up the potential to screen films in niche markets greatly widening the theatrical release footprint.

This initiative will develop industry practices that will enable Australian films to reach more people than ever before.

Initiative signatories

As of the ACAC Initiative launch, two official distributor partners are already onboard. Fan-Force and Bonsai Film are on board with films slated to utilise the ACAC offering. As part of the initiative, films distributed under ACAC Initiative will have improved contractual requirements. SCO encourages you to look out for them from the named partners above.

Update 2019-09-19: Fighting Chance Films has joined the list of Australian distributors supporting this initiative.

Identifying the areas to improve

Australia is underperforming in a number of areas compared to other parts of the world. These areas include.

  1. Digital Content Delivery/Distribution over the internet: Australia is one of the last western countries to implement digital distribution and the cost saving it brings. Areas utilising digital distribution typically have a reduction in the Minimum Guarantee (MG) required when taking a film.
  2. Restrictive policy and terms: the risk of taking smaller, typically Australian produced films is very high for smaller cinemas with the limited number of sessions they can show each week.

Smaller cinemas must be more careful in selecting the films they take. Unlike larger cinemas with a better variety of content available to them, smaller cinemas must select films that have less risk of not returning a profit. The Minimum Guarantee (MG), Policy and Terms stipulated when taking a film has a big effect on what films small cinemas can offer to their community.

The more restrictive contractual requirements in Australia limit the content that can be shown by smaller cinemas. This specifically restricts regional areas from film variety and less mainstream/niche content such as Australian films.

What we hope to achieve

There are two main objective with this initiative. Firstly we hope to improve contractual conditions when taking a film. Sweden is an example of a region that we hope to emulate. As a comparison with Australia, typical contractual requirements for a small cinema in each country are:

Policy (Contractual required number of sessions cinema must play):
Australia: Policy 2/2/1/1 (2 session per day 1st and 2nd week, 1 per day over 3rd and 4th week)
Sweden: 1 (1 session per day for first week only)

Minimum Guarantee (Minimum amount cinema must pay, even if film does not do well):
Australia: $300 aud
Sweden: Under $150 aud

Terms (Percentage of ticket price returned to Distributor per week shown):
Australia: 55/50/45/40/35
Sweden: 45/40/35

Secondly we want to no longer be the Country that gets the wooden spoon when it comes to watching our own locally generated content.

Australia last in percentage or local content watched.

In this image that was presented at CinemaCon 2019 and is based on ComScore data, you can see the RED bar indicating the percentage of local content shown in the region identified. It indicates how Australia is considerably lower than any other region.

AUSTRALIAN FEATURE FILM PRODUCTION ACTIVITY is a report located on the Screen Australia website and shows how many 100’s of millions is injected into the production of films each year while we barely match that number in exhibition return.

This is a disappointing result considering how much Australia invests into the production of films. It is hoped this initiative will give these films a better chance at reaching the Australian public theatrically. And for Australia to no longer sit on the bottom of the chart above.

What does the ACAC Initiative offer?

The ACAC initiative offers the following services to qualified Australian distributors and films at no cost.

  1. DCP creation with or without encryption. Donated by the DCP production house Finishing Room (
  2. KDM creation and management if required.
  3. Hosting of the DCP for download.
  4. Access to SCO mailing list for targeting smaller exhibitions for the promotion to the exhibition circuit.
  5. If a cinema does not have an adequate internet connection to allow for digital distribution, there is the option of physical delivery. This will incur a cost of approximately $100 per delivery (to cover DCP file on hard drive or USB stick, postal costs and handling fee). In this case the distributor may charge a MG to cover their costs. Orders for this service must be 2 weeks before date of session.


  1. The initiative is limited to Australian distributors including self distributed films.
  2. The initiative is limited to Australian films.
  3. The Film has a SCO Australian Content for Australian Communities tag at the start (as seen below and similar to Screen Australia etc)
  4. The distributor has no or $0 Minimum Guarantee (MG) associated with taking the film by an exhibitor as there is no cost to the distributor when utilising the ACAC initiative.
The SCO/ACAC preshow leader

It must be stressed that the ACAC Initiative only has a limited number of resources. If a distributor wishes to utilise the services, they will need to contact SCO early to ensure our schedule of work is not full.

For those interested in taking advantage of the ACAC initiative, please contact James Gardiner at Small Cinema Owners Association (