Countries Up Incentives, Capacity to Capture ‘Deluge’ of Global Production, Olsberg SPI Says

Tom Cruise'M:I 6 - Mission Impossible'
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There are now around 100 incentive offers at country, state, and province level around the world, looking to attract an “unprecedented deluge” of production globally in 2020, according to creative industries strategy consultants Olsberg SPI.

Many markets are focusing on strategies to expand their production capability in 2020, and an attractive incentive offer is a cornerstone of this, according to Leon Forde, managing director of Olsberg SPI, which publishes an annual incentives index in “World of Locations” and authored “Best Practice in Screen Sector Development,” a study commissioned by the Association of Film Commissioners Intl. (AFCI).

For producers, incentives have become a cornerstone of their financing plan, providing a headline rate of around 25% of eligible expenditure.

Recent years have seen growing recognition among governments of the valuable effects that film and high-end TV drama production can bring. This includes economic impact, employment, work-force, skills and infrastructure development, and benefits such as screen tourism and national branding.

Ukraine launched a new 25-30% incentive offer in November last year. This put it on a par with neighboring countries including Poland, which introduced a 30% incentive in early 2019, and Slovakia, which upped its incentive to 33% this year. Japan also announced a pilot filming incentive last year, its first national scheme, offering up to 20% of production costs to large-scale overseas TV and film project.

France offers a 30% rebate for international production, with a per project cap of €30 million ($33 million).

“This landscape will continue to develop, and some existing systems will continue to improve as authorities sharpen their competitive edge,” predicts Forde. “This is not just about the headline rate available, but about ensuring incentives function well and with clarity.”

With workforce and production infrastructure both in very high demand globally, building in these areas – alongside an incentive offer – is also critical for growth. “Incentives alone are not enough to draw production long-term, so it is important to ensure strategic development of crews and production space, in line with the needs of the market,” argues Forde.

The political situation in a market has also become a key consideration for producers looking to site a project internationally.

Many major studios rethought their film and TV work in Georgia and other U.S. states over anti-abortion laws last year. Popular filming locations in the Middle East were impacted by the Arab Spring, and their proximity to war zones including Iraq and Syria.

“Film and television dramas can be made with huge budgets, so producers are closely focused on setting up productions in markets with as little underlying risk to the project as possible,” says Forde. “Any uncertainty, whether in relation to the stability of an incentive, or in terms of the ability to undertake production, is a negative factor in attracting investment.”

Pictured: Tom Cruise filming “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” in Paris.