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BFI reveals UK’s high-end TV production spend in 2022 more than double that of film

Amazon’s Prime Video original The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

A record £6.27bn (US$7.02bn) was spent on high-end television (HETV) production and film in the UK in 2022, according to official figures published by the British Film Institute (BFI).

The latest official figures published by the BFI’s research and statistics unit show significant growth in UK film and HETV production with record levels of spend contributing to the UK economy and the recovery of the sector following the pandemic.

The lion’s share of the total £6.27bn spend was contributed by HETV production with £4.3bn, the second highest it has ever been, with feature film production contributing £1.97bn to the total spend.

BFI said the figures underline the UK’s global reputation as the world-leading centre for film and TV production.

However, domestic UK shows accounted for £632.7m, which was 15% of the total HETV spend and a 4% decrease on 2021, when the total spend on HETV was a record-breaking £4.43bn. The 2022 HETV spend represents an 88% increase on 2019’s pre-pandemic spend of £2.29bn.

The production statistics also reveal an increasing investment made by streamer platforms in single long-form productions, rather than episodic or series.

HETV production in the UK has boomed since the introduction of the UK’s HETV tax relief was introduced in 2013, which has helped grow local business activity and jobs across the UK. However, it has also led to concerns over a ‘crew crunch’ and the introduction of schemes to grow the UK’s production talent base to meet the demand.

Of the 195 HETV productions that started principal photography in 2022, 55% were inward investment, 41% were domestic UK projects and 4% were coproductions.

The 80 domestic UK productions represents the second highest number of productions since the introduction of the tax relief and only overtaken by 2021’s record level of activity.

Inward investment accounted for 84% of the total HETV production spend in 2022. This £3.63bn spend is the second highest recorded UK spend, a 3% decrease on the record high of 2021 but more than double 2019’s pre-pandemic high of £1.8bn.

Inward investment HETV productions made last year include the second season of Amazon’s Prime Video original The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, season three of the BBC’s Happy Valley, season two of Apple TV+’s Slow Horses and season six of Netflix’s The Crown.

Domestic HETV productions included ITV’s Stonehouse, Sky’s Dreamland and the BBC’s Detectorists special.

The UK spend associated with coproduction in 2022 was £36.5m, accounting for 1% of the total spend. This is the highest UK spend seen for HETV coproductions and 78% higher than the £20.5m spend in 2018.

“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,” said Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive.

Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission, added: “As today’s figures demonstrate, the UK inward investment film and TV industry continues to experience remarkable growth in production, generating billions of pounds for the UK economy and thousands of new jobs in production hubs throughout the UK’s nations and regions.

“It’s a real testament to the strength of our regional as well as metropolitan offer that so many major film and high-end TV productions choose to base themselves through the length and breadth of the UK. With the right levels of ongoing investment in skills, support and infrastructure, the UK is well-positioned to attract major international film and TV productions for many years to come.”


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