Screen Scotland has published the latest figures for inward film and HETV production spend in Scotland showing a 110% increase from £165.3 million in 2019 to £347.4 million in 2021.
Commissioned by Screen Scotland and produced by Saffery Champness and Nordicity, the report shows that in total, an estimated £617.4 million was spent on the production of film, TV and other audiovisual content in Scotland in 2021, compared to £398.6 million in 2019, up 55% compared to 2019.
This included content made by Scotland-based producers, producers based outside of Scotland filming in Scotland and Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) commissioned content.
The report found the employment impact in Scotland’s production sub-sector rose from 5,120 full time equivalent jobs (FTEs) in 2019 to 7,150 FTEs in 2021, a 39% increase. The employment impact across Scotland’s entire sector increased at a lower rate, by 5.6%, from 10,280 FTEs in 2019 to 10,940 FTEs in 2021 – with the covid impacts in that year on employment in the cinema exhibition and screen tourism accounting for the difference.
According to the research, undertaken by Saffery Champness and Nordicity as a follow-up to their recent study of 2019, growth is in large part due to sector development work undertaken since Screen Scotland’s formation in 2018, including significant skills development work and the opening of new or expanded studio facilities, particularly FirstStage Studios in Edinburgh, where Prime Video’s The Rig (which has returned to Scotland to film series 2) and Anansi Boys were filmed, and the expansion of The Pyramids in West Lothian, home to another Prime Video HETV series, Good Omens 2.
Alongside film and TV development and production, the study analyses the economic contribution of the full screen sector value chain – film and TV development and production, animation, VFX and post-production, film and TV distribution, TV broadcast, film exhibition – and extends into the supply chains that provide services at each stage of the content process, including facilities, equipment, transport, catering and accommodation. Beyond that direct supply chain, the study looks at where the screen sector stimulates economic activity elsewhere in the Scottish economy: screen tourism, the education and training sectors and infrastructure.
In total, the the report says the screen sector in Scotland contributed Gross Value Added (GVA) of £627 million to Scotland’s economy in 2021, providing 10,930 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, up from £568 million and 10,940 FTEs in 2019.
Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s Executive Director said: “The growth in all forms of production in Scotland between 2019 and 2021 is a phenomenal result. It shows us that public investment via Screen Scotland in infrastructure, development, production and skills development, combined with attractive levels of production incentive are the catalyst for a successful industry.
“Now is the time to build on these newly created jobs and growth with a sustained funding commitment towards skills development, attraction of large-scale productions and a focus on the development of locally originated film and television. Screen Scotland is committed to delivering further growth, working hand in hand with the commercial production and studio sectors. This will rely upon sustained funding and support in order for Scotland to seize the opportunities ahead of it and see that growth trajectory continue.”
Authors of the Report, Stephen Bristow, Partner, Saffery Champness LLP and Dustin Chodorowicz, Partner, Nordicity noted further significant Report findings: “The doubling of Scotland’s annual level of inward investment film and high-end TV production between 2019 and 2021, was nearly three times the 39% growth rate experienced by the UK as a whole, according to published BFI statistics. In addition, Scotland’s screen sector GVA rose by 9.7% in those two years – well ahead of the 1.2% increase in nominal GVA (i.e. not adjusted for the effects of price inflation) posted by Scotland’s overall economy during that period.”
Wellbeing Economy Secretary, Neil Gray said: “This report highlights another banner year for Scotland’s screen sector, which is all the more significant for the jobs, investment and economic growth it has delivered. The scale of the return to the Scottish economy from the investment in screen production is remarkable.
“Beyond film and TV, this report also highlights how our tourism, hospitality and construction sectors have benefitted from this investment through screen tourism, catering contracts, and infrastructure expansion, and the supply chains that support these activities.
“The efforts of Screen Scotland have been key to this result and we are committed to working with them and the sector to ensure this growth and the wider benefits being delivered can continue.”
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