Mumbai: The United Kingdom’s film and high-end TV (HETV) production is expected to touch £7.07 - £7.66 billion by 2025, found a new study by pan-industry skills body ScreenSkills.
The same study also predicts that an additional crew of 15,130 - 20,770 will be needed in the next three years to meet the demand. By 2025, training existing and new workforce will need an annual investment of £95.1 million to £104.3 million. The estimated economic return is more than 15 times the cost of the training investment
Film and high-end television production in the UK could be worth £7.66 billion – up from £5.64 billion – by 2025 and require nearly 21,000 more crews as per the analysis.
The research was commissioned by ScreenSkills and is supported by the British Film Institute (BFI).
The forecast of labour market shortages and training investment needs in film and HETV production was carried out by the consultancy Nordicity with the accountancy firm Saffery Champness LLP. They estimate that between £95.1 million and £104.3 million will be needed annually by 2025, to train the film and HETV workforce – both existing and the new recruits.
The indirect and induced impact of training investment in the order of £104.3 million would go a long way to creating a further 23,270 full-time jobs across the UK economy on top of the additional 20,770 crew. Latest figures show film and high-end television currently generate the equivalent of 1,22,000 full-time jobs.
Spending approximately £289.3 million on training during the three-year period 2023 to 2025 would enable film and high-end TV production to generate an additional £4.56 billion in GVA (gross value added) including direct, indirect and induced impact.
The authors of the study described this return on investment as “compelling” and acknowledged that the personnel needed to meet demand “may be understated”.
The authors conducted interviews with film and HETV production companies alongside an analysis of existing published and unpublished research to conclude that there is still room for growth on top of the rapid expansion fuelled by the introduction of the HETV tax relief in 2013 and a strong bounce back after the Covid lockdown.
Film and HETV production in the UK are likely to grow at an annual average rate of 7.3 per cent between 2022 and 2025. It is projected that spending will reach between £7.07 billion and £7.66 billion by 2025 – an additional £1.43 billion to £2.02 billion spending from the 2021 figure of £5.64 billion.
Just under 2.7 million square feet of additional stage space is due to come online by 2025 in response to physical constraints of the under-supply of stage space suited to film and HETV production.
The cost of training the workforce – with both light-touch and more intensive interventions – was based on figures for existing ScreenSkills training programmes.
In a high-growth scenario, annual spending of £104.3 million on training would represent 1.4 per cent of the forecast level of production spend of £7.66 billion in 2025. This would be higher than sectors such as manufacturing and construction but lower than the business services and hotels and restaurants sectors where training investment rates were 3.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively in 2019.
Many parts of the sector, including public service broadcasters, subscription video-on-demand and independent production companies, already run their own training programmes with proven track records, although it has not been possible to quantify that investment.
In addition, financial support from the sector to ScreenSkills totalled £12.91 million last year. This was amplified by £4.3 million National Lottery funding awarded by the BFI as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.
ScreenSkills CEO Seetha Kumar said, “The data in this report will help us all plan sensibly to ensure the UK has the skilled and inclusive workforce needed to capitalise on the potential for further growth. The film and television industry are one of the UK’s great success stories and we need to work together to keep it that way. Growing the workforce will help ensure the country fully benefits from the projected growth in production expenditure.”
ScreenSkills Film Skills Council producer and chairperson Anita Overland said: “It is important that films of every scale and budget have the right people for those productions, so it is useful to understand what is likely to happen in the next few years. I am very proud of what the Film Skills Council does to support training, but this is a reminder of how much further work is needed – financially but also in terms of creating opportunities for people to learn on the job.”
Watford, Essex COO, ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Council chairperson Christine Healy said, “High-end TV is already deeply committed to investing in training and retention and as a sector, we work really closely with ScreenSkills through the council and our working groups to make sure we are addressing skills priorities, both at entry and mid-career level. It is valuable to have further intelligence on the likely scale of the challenges ahead so that we can keep ahead of the game.”