This is a many faceted question, with even more possible answers. This blog supports the view that it is not time to give up on Australian content.
History shows some spectacular successes and spectacular failures from the Australian film industry. If industry leaders and new comers were to follow the ideas of the success stories then there would, in all likelihood, be less failures.
Statistics show that Australia does want a film industry. In 2011, Screen Australia commissioned qualitative research on how Australians of a range of ages and film consumption feel about Australian films. This research found that seventy five percent of respondents said they would miss the Australian film industry if it were to disappear. Seventy nine percent said the film industry contributed to Australian identity to some degree. The most popular reason that respondents felt for needing an Australian film industry was to ensure that Australia is not overwhelmed by American culture. This was closely followed by recognition of employment opportunities and the desire for Australian events and history to be recorded and passed on.
These findings indicate that it is not time to give up on Australian content, as keeping Australian identity prevalent providing employment opportunities as important. Unfortunately, it appears that Australians still do not want to pay for these films. This problem can be improved by the producers, however, as they try new ways to distribute films. Relying on traditional release has been a continuing issue for Australian content producers, as even critically acclaimed films that secure prestigious slots at film festivals such as Canne and Sundance such limited cinema release and empty theatres. There have been attempts at different release strategies such as television, DVD or digital download release, or by turning the release into an event with Q&As with cast and crew, intermissions and so forth.
The time to give up on Australian content has not yet come, but the time to change how Australian content is released to the public has. Improvements in this area by producers will improve the viability of Australian content. Research does indicate that Australians are not prepared to lose their film industry, which should be a strong reason for producers to not give up either.