You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film and TV Biz Help U.K. Stave Off Recession Fears

Amid the disruption and uncertainty wrought by Brexit and fears of a recession, the U.K.’s film and TV business continues to shrug off the jitters and provide the British economy with a much-needed boost.

Figures issued Thursday by the U.K. Office for National Statistics show that, in the wider services sector, film and TV constitute a major, and growing, contributor to the British economy. “The sub-industry that had the largest contribution to gross domestic product growth was motion pictures (including TV and music), which has been one of the best-performing sectors over the last year,” the ONS said in its report for the three months up to the end of August.

Rob Kent of the ONS said TV and film production helped fuel overall GDP growth during the quarter, “despite a weak performance across manufacturing” and a shrinking of the economy by 0.1% in the month of August. The boost provided by film and TV is expected to help Britain stave off an official recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. The British economy shrank by 0.2% from April through June.

“These figures reflect the dynamism of the sector at the moment – a dynamism so evident in this year’s BFI London Film Festival,” Amanda Nevill, CEO of the British Film Institute, told Variety. “These impressive ONS figures aren’t a flash in the pan. They build further on many years of solid growth. The challenge that the BFI is embracing is to make sure sufficient investment is there to scale up the infrastructure, skills, facilities, talent development and retention to match this growth.”

Amid the boom in film and TV production, studios are being built or expanded apace but are struggling to keep up with demand. One reason Brexit is seemingly not affecting Britain’s film and TV business is that much of the production activity has a U.S. dimension. Disney is taking over most of Pinewood – where parts of upcoming “Star Wars” installment “The Last Jedi” was shot – and Netflix is setting up shop at Shepperton. Cultural familiarity, a skilled workforce, and good infrastructure all work in the U.K.’s favor in terms of projects with U.S. talent or backing.

The business is still braced for a Brexit hit as TV channels registered in the U.K. move abroad and international companies re-evaluate London as a base if the U.K. leaves the European Union. The possibility of losing E.U. funding for distribution and the movement of staff in an increasingly international business are also major concerns.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, but it is unclear whether it will happen by that deadline.

More TV

  • ViacomCBS

    ViacomCBS Exec Shuffle Signals Move Toward $500 Million in Synergy Goals

    The latest cluster of high-level ViacomCBS executive announcements — which included CBS chief creative officer David Nevins and MTV/VH1 chief Chris McCarthy expanding their oversight, and Comedy Central head Kent Alterman exiting — likely constitutes the last round of public leadership shuffling ahead of the close of the Viacom-CBS transaction in early December, according to [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets 'You' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announces the second season premiere date for “You,” and Quibi has named six more cast members joining its upcoming series “The Now.”  CASTING Samantha Richelle, Arthur Acuña (“Princess and I”), Nonie Buencamino (“Sparks”) and Ces Quesada (“Invisible”) have been cast in WGN’s upcoming drama “Almost Paradise.” The four members join previously announced lead cast [...]

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Writers Guild Continues to Slam Agencies Over Affiliate Ownership

    With the Writers Guild of America’s stalemate with talent agencies in its seventh month, the guild has doubled down on the issue of ownership of production. In a message to titled “The Truth About Agency Studios” sent to members Monday, the WGA’s negotiating committee blasted the leading agencies CAA, UTA and WME for owning the [...]

  • STUMPTOWN - "Forget it Dex, It's

    ABC to Stop Using Live+Same Day Ratings

    ABC is set to become the second of the major networks to no longer use Live+Same Day figures to measure the performance of its shows (with the exception of live programming), according to an internal memo sent out by ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. The move comes four years after Fox chose to do the [...]


    'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' Cast Talks New Music (Watch)

    Disney has debuted a preview clip of the upcoming “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in which the cast discusses how the music of the original movies and 2019’s tunes combine to tell a new tale. Indeed, it’s the start of something new: instead of cheering on Troy Bolton and Gabriella, a next generation [...]

  • Facebook Stock

    PBS' 'Nightly Business Report' to Cease Production by Year End

    “Nightly Business Report,” the PBS program that started in 1979 and became TV’s longest-running business-news broadcast, is set to cease production by the end of the year. CNBC, which picked up production of the show in 2013, has decided to end its association with the show, according to people familiar with the matter. “NBR,” originally [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content