16 NOV 2021

Demand from streaming giants fuels the UK film and TV industry

The top 50 UK film and TV companies have seen their turnover rise by 15.4% in the last year to £8.1 billion (€9.5 billion) as streaming giants’ demand for content drives growth in national studios, according to BDO.

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"The Essex Serpent" (Apple TV+)

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The top 50 UK film and TV companies have seen their turnover rise by 15.4% in the last year to £8.1 billion (€9.5 billion) as streaming giants’ demand for content drives growth in national studios, according to new research from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the number of UK subscribers to streaming services increased to over 32 million in 2020. New streaming platforms, such as NENT’s Viaplay, are set to join the established market heavyweights in the UK and intensify the need for even more new content.

Much of this new content is set to come from the UK. Amazon recently announced the location of its highly-anticipated “The Lord of the Rings” prequel series would switch from New Zealand to the UK for its second season, joining other shows based in the UK, such as Amazon’s “Good Omens,” Apple TV+’s “The Essex Serpent,” Netflix’s “The Witcher,” and Disney+’s “Star Wars: Andor,” among others. Additionally, Netflix recently purchased the rights to the Roald Dahl estate, allowing it to create TV shows and films based on the works of the late author, and has signed a long-term deal to make productions at Shepperton, near London.

The wealth of talent in the UK film industry is another reason why the call for UK companies is so high. News of the threat of new strike action from the union that represents over 150.000 of Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes workers is likely to further encourage companies from the United States to produce in the UK, where the workforce is far more flexible that its US counterparts.

“Demand from streaming giants is fuelling a boom in the UK film and TV industry. Despite the practical challenges brought by the pandemic, UK film and TV companies had a great year and with demand for new content at a level never seen before, and this demand is likely to be sustained for some time yet. The masses of new subscribers gained during lockdown and consequent boom in share prices mean that the big streaming companies have tremendous amounts of capital just waiting to be deployed. Production was entirely shut down for long periods last year and has led to a shortage in new shows and films,”  said Peter Smithson, Head of Film & TV at BDO.

“To keep subscribers happy and compete with rivals, market giants such as Amazon Prime and Netflix are likely to be keen to produce much more content this year and next. This can only be good news for UK film and TV companies who stand to benefit greatly in the coming years,”  Smithson added.

Demand from streaming giants is fuelling a boom in the UK film and TV industry” Peter Smithson Head of Film & TV at BDO