Western Australia’s Electric Pictures has commenced the production of the fifth season of its successful factual format Aussie Gold Hunters following Discovery Australia and UK’s order of another 40 hours of the show, across two more seasons.
Filmed in Western Australia and Victoria, Aussie Gold Hunters follows teams of gold prospectors as they risk it all to find their fortune on some of the richest gold bearing grounds in the world.
In addition to Discovery, the series is financed with the backing of distributor DCD Rights, the Australian Government’s Producer Offset, Screenwest’s Documentary Production Fund, and the regional production funds in both Western Australia and Victoria.
Aussie Gold Hunters is broadcast on the Discovery Channel in Australia. To date, the series is the #1 Factual program on Foxtel in 2019, and during the premiere run of Season 4 it was the #1 Non-Sport program in its timeslot.
In the UK, it is broadcast on Quest – Discovery’s free-to-air channel – where it is consistently the channel’s highest-rated program of the week, and often ranks amongst the top 10 highest-rated non-public service broadcaster programs in the UK.
Distributed globally by DCD Rights, an estimated 40 million people have viewed the series in more than 120 countries worldwide. A clip from the series, in which a massive $200,000 nugget is unearthed, the largest ever nugget find caught on camera, has gone viral with more than 19 million views since it was posted in July.
“The secret to the success of the series is really quite simple,” said Electric Pictures’ CEO Andrew Ogilvie. “Gold is one of the few minerals that looks amazing the moment it comes out of the ground, and its shine immediately triggers our deep fascination for this metal. Another key ingredient is that Aussie Gold Hunters is aspirational. We focus on small operations, great characters, and situations which the average viewer can relate to, and this encourages them to think they could go out there and do it too.”
According to Ogilvie, series like these play an important role in the independent production industry in Australia, “Long running returnable series like Aussie Gold Hunters provide long-term employment for a sizable number of professionals, as well as training opportunities for less experienced filmmakers. The beauty of a large order like this is that we can take a few risks with new production talent, both in the field and in the edit room, that are not possible with single hour programs or limited series. We are proud of the role we are playing in helping to grow the talent pool in Western Australia, in particular.”
Aussie Gold Hunters also provides substantial benefits to the local economy in the goldfields. Ogilvie says, “The feedback from businesses is that Aussie Gold Hunters is good for tourism. With every new series, there is a noticeable increase in visitor numbers, which makes sense given the size of the Aussie Gold Hunters fan base, domestically and globally. They want to come to Australia, hire a metal detector, and try their luck too.”
Victoria Noble, VP Original Content, Factual, Discovery UK said: “We’re excited to bring our audience 40 more hours of Aussie Gold Hunters. The series has been one of Quest’s most successful with fans coming back week after week to follow the teams’ progress. Our audience are huge fans of character-led shows that give an insight into extreme jobs. In the fifth season, we’ll follow new and established teams as they battle the harsh climate and hunt for gold in the Aussie Outback in hope of striking it rich.”
Rebecca Kent, General Manager Discovery Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands said: “Aussie Gold Hunters is Discovery Australia’s most successful franchise to date. A co-production with Electric Pictures and Discovery UK, we are thrilled with the record-breaking results the series has returned and we’re proud to significantly increase our investment in Australian productions with another two seasons. A core component of Discovery’s programming is showcasing tough jobs and Australia is renowned for having some of the most unique professions in the world. There’s a huge appetite for these stories and characters, both here and internationally, and we can’t wait to see our local prospectors continue to strike ratings gold!”
Aussie Gold Hunters was ordered by Victoria Noble, VP Original Content, Factual at Discovery Inc. Oliver Wilson and Rob Holloway are the Executive Producers for Quest, Darren Chau is Director of Content & Channels, Factual and Executive Producer for Discovery Australia, and Robin Shingleton is the Series Producer for Electric Pictures.