Spending on high-end television production in the U.K. hit £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2018, a 4-percent increase on the previous year and the highest since tax incentives were introduced in 2013, according to the BFI.
BFI said there were 119 high-end TV productions made in the U.K. last year. Of those, 55 were domestic productions with a spend of £378 million (a 19-percent increase). The 64 inward investment and co-production high-end TV productions delivered an interim spend of £794.5 million.
BFI says that 20 animation shows went into production in the U.K. in 2018, with a spend of £39.6 million. Of these, 15 were domestic UK productions and 5 were inward investment or co-productions.
Overall spend on high-end television and film production in the U.K. reached £3.1 billion last year, BFI says, down from £3.2 billion the year before.
“These statistics confirm yet again that the U.K. is truly a global powerhouse for the screen industries, with a strong showing from our independent film sector,” said Margot James, Digital and Creative Industries Minister. “Billions of pounds are spent every year on film and high-end TV in the U.K., and we will continue to back the sector to further strengthen this success story.”
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, added, “In a time of seismic change, today’s figures prove that film and television are thriving, a vital creative industry that is outstripping other sectors. With spend for film and high-end television production at almost £3.1 billion, we remain one of the most in-demand places in the world to create moving image content. The benefits are being felt U.K.-wide with production expanding in the nations and regions, boosting the economy, building skills, creating jobs and giving opportunities for people of all backgrounds to join our industry. Film is a global business and our creativity and talent remain one of the U.K.’s most potent exports as we navigate new relationships internationally. Audiences are increasingly watching film and television on a variety of platforms and at the same time are going to the cinema more than ever. Such a healthy market share for independent U.K. films suggests that audiences’ appreciation for homegrown stories, as well as big global blockbusters, is on the rise.”
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, noted, “It is hugely rewarding to see today’s figures reflecting the U.K.’s flourishing screen sectors. Film and high-end TV are big business and year after year we are privileged to welcome inward investment productions to every region and nation of the U.K., drawn here by our global reputation as a leading center for world-class talent, facilities and technical expertise. This demand, and our collective success in consistently delivering at the highest level, ensures we are able to continue driving economic growth and job creation, which in turn provides training opportunities for talent from every background. Such is the volume of incoming projects, throughout 2018 we saw significant increases in the value of film and HETV based in the U.K. the previous year—increases of 10 percent and 18 percent respectively—so we look forward to revisiting 2018’s inward investment figures later in the year.”