Screen Scotland has published a report showing the screen sector in Scotland contributed £567.6million to Scotland’s economy in 2019, providing 10,280 full time equivalent jobs.
Alongside consistent and significant investment by UK PSBs, international productions, including Good Omens, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, for Amazon Prime Video and BBC Two, and Batgirl for HBO Max, have recently chosen to shoot in the country.
“This is the first true benchmark of the value of Scotland’s screen sector and it’s far larger than has been captured by previous studies,” says Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s executive director. “Better still, we see the potential to double GVA by 2030, if investment in local content, production skills and infrastructure continues. ”
The report reveals that the UK’s public service broadcasters, particularly the BBC and Channel 4, spent an estimated £196.6 million on content production in Scotland in 2019, and a further £61.1m on their broadcasting support operations in Scotland, such as transmission, sales and marketing, administration and other overheads.
“This Report confirms how strong Scotland’s screen sector was in 2019,” says David Smith, director of Screen at Screen Scotland. “The PSBs are vital to the Scottish screen sector’s continued good health, particularly the BBC and Channel 4,” . “the publicly owned PSBS. Between them the BBC and Channel 4 accounted for 87% all PSB expenditure in Scotland in 2019.”
Commissioned by Screen Scotland and produced by Saffery Champness and Nordicity, the report is the first comprehensive study of its kind evidencing the value of Scotland’s film and TV industries.
The wide-ranging study analyses the economic contribution of the 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.
The report covers 2019, the year before the onset of Covid and the first full year following the establishment of Screen Scotland in late 2018. A follow up study of 2021, the year in which the current boom in Scotland-based production started in earnest, is in progress and will be published in early 2023.
Isabel Davis continues: “a strategy for the Scottish screen sector needs robust numbers – they reveal where there’s room for growth, the interdependencies of related sub sectors, along with the spillover benefits to tourism, retail, hospitality and construction.
“Ultimately our goal is to strengthen locally originated production and the many industries that surround it. The positive interaction between large scale incoming production and the local sector, recently evidenced in productions such as Good Omens and Batgirl, is an important part of that picture.”
Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “This report shows the exceptional growth that Scotland’s film and TV industries have experienced in recent years; generating millions for the economy, creating thousands of jobs and providing opportunities for skills and talent development in roles across the sector.
“This comprehensive study demonstrates the value of the screen sector to other parts of Scotland’s economy, including hospitality and tourism. It highlights the important place that screen has in generating and sustaining employment and the vital role of public service broadcasters in contributing to that growth.
“Supporting the screen sector is a key priority for the Scottish Government and we are committed to ensuring that this growth continues to develop our sustainable creative economy, making Scotland an attractive place to live and work for people across the creative industries.”
The full Economic Value of the Screen Sector in Scotland report is available to download from Screen Scotland website, alongside an accompanying summary report which also includes a variety of case studies.
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