U.K. Commercial Broadcasters Invest Record $1.23 Billion in TV Production

11:34 AM PST 06/18/2014 by Scott Roxborough
Daniel Smith/FOX
New tax incentives helped attract "24: Live Another Day" to shoot in London

Figures from Britain's commercial broadcasters association show a massive jump in investment in local content, thanks to tax relief and multi-channel broadcast expansion.

It's not just Downton Abbey – all of British TV is booming.

Figures released Wednesday by Britain's commercial broadcasters association show that commercial channels pumped more money into a record $1.23 billion (£725 million) into U.K. television production over the period from 2011-2013.

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The figure is some 50 percent higher than the association's first census in 2009, when commercial channels invested about $800 million (£487 million) in Brit TV production.

The association puts the growth down to new government tax breaks for high-end TV production, which the group said have helped attract $758 million (£447 million) in investment in their first year, with shows such as 24: Live Another Day shooting in Britain to take advantage of the new credits.

There's also been more money from multi-channel broadcasters, which have upped their investment in U.K. news and current affairs programs to the tune of nearly $152 million (£90 million) a year.

Dee Forbes, president and managing director in Western Europe for Discovery Networks and chair of the commercial broadcasters association, said the figures demonstrated broadcasters' commitment to the U.K. production sector.

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"Our members increased their investment in overall U.K. television content and recorded particularly strong growth in first-run programs and commissions from independent producers," said Forbes. Investment in shows from independent U.K. producers was up 18 percent compared to the previous census.

"Thanks to our excellent tax relief, our world-class talent and infrastructure (we) are welcoming a range of international and domestic production, boosting the economy and creating thousands of jobs," said Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London.

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