TV, film production spend soars in the UK

Driven by UK-lensed movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, global film and high-end TV production spend hit record levels in the region in 2016.
January 27, 2017

Despite uncertainty facing UK kids media organizations and indie producers in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU last summer, international film and TV production spend in the UK reached record levels in 2016, according to a new report from the British Film Commission.

For high-end TV production, the sector generated a record US$601 million in inward investment spend, making for an 11% increase compared to 2015. (The report points to a number of repeat business titles for adults including Game of Thrones, Outlander and The Royals as evidence of the banner year.)

While the analysis doesn’t divulge information on specific kids and family TV projects, the UK continues to see international co-production and acquisitions growth.

Streaming giant Netflix, for one, recently commissioned a pair of British live-action tween projects: The Worst Witch with partners CBBC and ZDF, and Horse Mystery (working title) with Lime Pictures.

And just this week, NBCUniversal’s US kidsnet Sprout picked up CBeebies’ new 2D-animated series School of Roars.

On the film side, inward investment spend on feature films in the UK in 2016 reached a record US$1.7 billion, representing an 18% increase versus 2015. Movies shot in the UK,  including Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Transformers: The Last Knight, helped to drive the activity.

Inward investment titles, in fact, represented 85% of total UK spend last year.

Still, local linear kidsnets continue to face viewership challenges, as TV time is down and online use is up for UK kids ages five to 15, according to the most recent report from UK media regulator ofcom.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at


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