The latest official figures published by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit show significant growth in UK film and high-end TV (HETV) production, with record levels of spend contributing to the UK economy and the recovery of the sector. The combined spend by film and high-end television production during 2022 reached £6.27 billion, the highest ever reported, and £1.83 billion higher than for the pre-pandemic year 2019.
The lion’s share of the total £6.27 billion spend was contributed by HETV production with £4.30 billion (or 69%); with feature film production contributing £1.97 billion, or 31% of the total spend. Inward investment films and HETV shows delivered £5.37 billion, or 92% of the combined production spend.
Spend on independent UK filmmaking, however, showed a downturn with £174 million, a 31% decrease on 2021. Co-productions, which are generally made by independent producers, saw a 3% increase in spend with £59 million, representing continued growth over the past five years.
The production statistics also reveal an increasing investment made by streaming platforms in single long-form productions. In 2022, there were 22 single domestic UK and inward investment productions which contributed £938.8 million to the HETV spend of £4.3 billion. This spend represents a 23% increase on 2021’s £765 million spend on single productions. These projects include “Blitz,” “Napoleon,” and “Saltburn.”
Total admissions for 2022 reached 117.3 million, an increase of 59% on 2021, underlining a growing recovery after the impact of restrictions during the pandemic, but also showing that business is lagging behind the pre-pandemic year of 2019 by 23% (176 million admissions). Box office takings in the UK and the Republic of Ireland totaled £945 million across 834 films, 57% more than for 2021’s £602 million earned by 438 releases, but 26% behind 2019’s total box office.
“Our world class film and TV industries have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and this record breaking production spend of over £6 billion is a huge vote of confidence in these sectors. Through tax incentives, support for skills development and new studio space we have cemented the UK's status as a global hotspot for film and TV production, which is driving economic growth and creating fantastic job opportunities right across the country,” said Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom.
“Today’s record-breaking figures for film and TV production in the UK are great news for our industry and the UK economy, and underlines the success of our industry at a global level. Our world-class talent, craft and production services, and vital film and TV tax reliefs, have enabled the UK to be a major player in a highly competitive global industry. Further investment in expanding studio space UK-wide to meet production demand will continue to build on this economic success and create further jobs,” commented Ben Roberts, CEO of BFI.