Oscar glory reflects international growth of UK film and television industry

Fri 7 Mar 2014
Posted by: International Trade News

The vibrant success of Britain’s film industry at the Oscars is a further boost to the growth of an already booming creative industries’ export market.

Latest British Film Industry (BFI) statistics reveal that in 2011 the industry exported £1,739 million worth of services – of which £1,199 million came from royalties and £540 million from film production.  Film exports are now 121% higher since data was first collected in 1995.

Our TV programmes are also celebrating export success with the most recent Television Exports’ Survey from Institute of Export member Pact showing that sales to international markets grew to £1.224 billion during 2012. Pact is the trade association representing the commercial interests of UK independent television, film, digital, children’s and animation media companies.

These compelling figures confirm that our film and television sectors are playing key roles in an increasingly competitive global market, contributing significantly to the UK net trade position through export earnings.  Both industries are helping build Britain’s reputation for quality and creativity by showcasing our strengths in acting, scriptwriting, production, music and visual effects – the latter demonstrated by London-based Framestore who won the Best Visual Effects Oscar for Gravity.

According to the BFI’s 2013 Statistic Yearbook, British film achieved a 15% share of the international box office by pulling in over $5.3 billion in 2012. Contributing to this sustained success are films such as the James Bond blockbuster Skyfall, which earned $1.1 billion, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($135 million) and The Woman in Black ($128 million).

Meanwhile television shows such as Downton Abbey, Parade’s End and Sherlock are also extremely popular amongst overseas buyers – with international sales of UK television programmes quadrupling since 2004.

While the US remains the most lucrative market for UK productions with sales up by 11% and American buyers spending £475m on UK content – sales to China increased by 90% and rose by 42% in India.

The BFI says a combination of tax incentives and investment from the Lottery Fund – coupled with broadcasters including the BBC and Channel 4 – is helping the sector to “punch above its weight”.

This sustained overseas success is helping fuel job growth with 44,000 people employed in in the UK film industry in 2011 compared to 36,000 in 2009.  There are now more people working in the sector than in fund management and pharmaceutical manufacturing combined.

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