Global streamers are investing heavily in Scotland, with Amazon Prime Video investing £50 million ($65 million) across three series.
The U.K. parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee is conducting a series of evidence sessions exploring the media landscape in Scotland. Amazon and Netflix appeared before the committee on Monday.
“Over the last 12 months, we’ve contributed directly over £50 million into the [Scottish] creative industries and that’s across three shows that we’re very proud to have shot and being currently shooting,” Amazon Europe originals chief Georgia Brown told the committee. The shows are “The Rig,” “Anansi Boys” and “Good Omens” season two.
Brown added that within that investment, the streamer has created over 750 jobs, of which 60% have been Scottish, and 60 traineeships were created directly into those productions.
Anne Mensah, who was formerly head of drama at BBC Scotland and is currently VP, original series, at Netflix, said that parts of hit series “The Crown” are shot in Scotland as is a new adaptation of David Nicholls’ novel “One Day,” part of the adaptation of Sally Green’s “Half Bad” and a cop show, details of which are currently under wraps.
“We hope that we can help with tourism by bringing shows to Scotland,” said Mensah. “The crews are best in class and have always been so,” adding that the streamer is also investing in training.
Benjamin King, Netflix director of director of public policy for the U.K., described original film “Outlaw King” as “one of our proudest moments in production terms in Scotland.” “It still is the largest feature film to be made in Scotland to date,” King added. “It was filmed across an extraordinary number of different locations which we then worked afterwards with Visit Scotland to promote.”
King said that the production hired 35 Scottish trainees on the film, which “had a considerable impact in terms of the knock-on effect in building up the crew base in those locations.”
The committee also asked the streamers about their relationship with the U.K. public service broadcasters (PSBs), which both streamers said was mutually beneficial. King revealed that Netflix has invested $400 million in PSB originated content in the U.K. since 2016.
“It’s really important to emphasize just how mutually beneficial that relationship is not only in the sense that we’re co-financing shows that the PSBs might not be able to make themselves but then actually, that the distribution of those shows to a global audience helps to build renewed interest and attention when perhaps returning series come back and premiere on a PSB channel, as we’ve seen with “Peaky Blinders,” for example,” King said.
Amazon Prime Video U.K. MD Chris Bird described the streamers’ relationship with the PSBs as “standing on the shoulders of giants” and that the streamers would strive to “influence or improve what is already a fundamentally world class infrastructure.”
Both streamers said that they had no plans to get into news services.