According to the DCMS (Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport) in November 2018 the value of the creative industries as a whole to the UK was up from £94.8 billion in 2016 and had broken through the £100 billion barrier. It said the sectors had grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010 and together are now worth £268 billion.
For the film world specifically not only does the UK have a widespread and skilled support base of experienced film production crews and technicians, it also has both the locations and the studios to attract the biggest film companies from around the world. It is an industry that employs an estimated 60,000 people.
Then there is the knock-on effect into the wider local economy, not only by boosting the tourism sector, but also in some other surprising ways. We know of one Essex-based haulier who reports consistent and increasing contracts for transporting materials, equipment and support units to film locations as well as to studios like Shepperton and Pinewood.
Last week, Netflix announced what is believed to be a 10-year deal to lease Shepperton Film Studios near London, where it plans to create a dedicated UK production hub, including 14 sound stages, plus workshops and office space at the site owned by the Pinewood Group.
Another recent example is the newly-released Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film ‘Yesterday’, filmed almost entirely in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.
These are only the latest results of an ongoing investment in the UK film industry, which has been stimulated by Government tax breaks and local authority initiatives that have encouraged spending by international filmmakers.
According to figures from the BFI (British Film Institute) 2017 saw the highest level of spend by international filmmakers ever recorded, reaching £1.692 billion.
But the success of the UK film industry has not only been about attracting international film makers. Production of home grown films in 2017 had also risen, with 72 films going into production including ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ directed by Josie Rourke; ‘Yardie’ directed by Idris Elba, ‘Peterloo’ directed by Mike Leigh; ‘Close’ directed by Vicky Jewson; and ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
UK cinema revenues have also grown, reaching £1.3 billion (totaling 170.6 million admissions) that same year.
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) the gross value added to the economy by film, video and television companies has increased by 313 percent since 2008.