Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Rush to invest in TV show

TOP income earners can slash their tax bill by investing in TV’s McLeod’s Daughters in one of billionaire Kerry Packer’s most creative fundraising schemes.

While film producers have used similar schemes to raise money for documentaries and feature films, Nine’s scheme is the first to target an individual production and may be extended to other programs.

Nine Network chief financial officer, Brent Curtis, said the scheme had raised $500,000 towards its $15.5 million target in its first week. “If this works we can use it for other dramas down the track,” he said.

McLeod’s Daughters, which stars Bridie Carter, Rachael Carpani, Simmone Jade Mackinnon and Aaron Jeffery, is Australia’s top-rating drama series with an average of 1.5 million people tuning in each week. It is also a hit on US cable channel Women’s Entertainment Network and seen in up to 30 other countries, making it one of Australia’s most successful television exports.

Carpani, 24, who was back home in Sydney from Adelaide on a production break yesterday, said the show was definitely an international hit.

She said she had relatives who watch the show in Italy and the US. “My parents see it on WEN,” explained Carpani, whose parents and brother and sister are based in the US, where McLeod’s has become a hit since it premiered there last year.

Despite its ratings success, McLeod’s needs constant funding to stay in production as it is shot on film instead of tape and filmed completely on location in South Australia.

These “high-end” production values have pushed the cost of each episode up to $500,000, also making it one of Australia’s most expensive TV drama series.

“This is a first using just one vehicle—a drama series,” confirmed Channel Nine’s director of drama, Posie Graeme-Evans, who also created the hit series.

“One of the things film and television in this country needs is different ways to fund projects. You just have to be ingenius and find different sources of money.

“It needs to sell overseas just to cover costs—and it takes a long time to get paid for overseas sales,” she said.

“No one gets rich out of McLeod’s Daughters.”

And while earlier series of McLeod’s Daughters were also funded partly by a tax scheme run through Macquarie Bank, it offered only a 60 per cent profit guarantee.

Participants can claim the whole investment back over two years and may also be able to claim deductions on interest payments if they borrow the money.

By Phillip Koch and Jim Dickins
June 19, 2005
The Sunday Telegraph