Netflix is to partner with owners Aviva to operate and significantly expand the Longcross Studios complex in Surrey.

The global streamer will take a long-term lease at the site which is owned by the investment division of insurance company Aviva.

Longcross Studios has played host the James Bond franchise, films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars series and ITV television drama Broadchurch. The existing facility includes four main stages, 200 acres of backlot, a two-and-a-quarter mile test track, an off-road course, as well as a 150-year-old manor house which has been home to Call the Midwife.

The Longcross deal builds on the Netflix production hub at Shepperton Studios and long-term partnership with Pinewood Group to lease stages, workshops and office space.

The streamer has committed to a UK production budget of over $1 billion in 2021 on over 60 productions including Sex Education, The Witcher and Bridgerton, alongside new titles including Anatomy of a Scandal, Man vs Bee, Stay Close and Heartstopper.

Aviva Investors has also acquired the remaining stake in a 72-acre film production site, which has been purchased from joint venture partner Crest Nicholson, for £45 million. The deal furthers Aviva Investors’ ownership of land at Longcross, with the business having co-owned the site – which totals approximately 380 acres – alongside its joint venture partner, Crest, since 2003. It also deepens Aviva Investors’ existing relationship with Netflix, which has its London headquarters in Fitzroy Place and also recently took residency of a substantial site in Uxbridge.

It also extends Aviva Investors’ provision of facilities to the British film and television industry, having completed the letting of two buildings in Park Royal, North West London, in January which will be turned into the brand-new 62,000 sq ft Garden Studios film studio complex.

The asset manager has also invested into several buildings which currently house the BBC, STV and the Moving Pictures Company.

Anna Mallett, Vice President, Physical Production, EMEA/UK, at Netflix, says, “The new lease at Longcross highlights our commitment to investing in the UK creative industry and will provide a wealth of opportunities and production jobs, from entry level to heads of department.”

James Stevens, Head of Development, Global Real Estate, at Aviva Investors, says: “We are very pleased, not only to increase our investment in Longcross and the UK’s creative industry, but also to grow our relationship with Netflix and bring a world-leading business to the region and further our strategy of actively targeting unique opportunities in this sector. It is exciting to see such a large global brand and pioneer in the digital entertainment industry demonstrate a strong, long-term commitment. “

Jon Creamer

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