Pinewood Studios Mulls Development Options Amid Rising Competition

Pinewood Studios - H 2012
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"Without major investment, Pinewood Studios cannot remain globally competitive," says operator Pinewood Shepperton.


U.K. studio complex operator Pinewood Shepperton said Wednesday that it is evaluating the future development of Pinewood Studios with local and national politicians and partners, as well as content producers, saying that "without major investment, Pinewood Studios cannot remain globally competitive."

It cited the need to respond to "the changing needs and ever increasing demands of the screen and digital industries" amid rising competition abroad. Among that competition are new studio complexes, such as Cape Town Studios, Docklands in Melbourne, Russia World Studio and Alvernia Studios in Poland. The company also cited current development Chinawood outside Tianjin, China, which has reportedly already cost about £500 million ($800 million).

Pinewood Shepperton said it wants to plan for the next 20 years and will "consider the need for stage and studio space, innovation, technology and television broadcast facilities, all designed to support Pinewood Studios’ position as a world-leading, digitally connected, hub for the global creative industries."

The company will consider its existing site and an adjacent land holding.

Certainty about its future development is "critical to enable Pinewood Studios to plan for growth," the company said.

Ivan Dunleavy, CEO of Pinewood Shepperton, said: “Our business again delivered record operating results during 2011, yet Pinewood and the U.K. were unable to satisfy the rising demand last year from the audio-visual sector. We must respond effectively to the growing demand and compete on an equal footing; otherwise Pinewood will fall behind its international competitors."

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The British film industry is an economic success story. It’s the third-largest market in the world in revenue terms with exports over £2 billion ($3.2 billion) and a highly skilled workforce of nearly 50,000…If Pinewood Studio’s expansion plans take place it will significantly enhance the U.K.'s ability to succeed in a highly competitive market and ensure that the U.K. continues to be one of the best destinations in the world for film making.”

Added Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: “Economically and culturally, British film makes a great contribution and presents a very real opportunity for economic growth. Continued private investment in the industry will help ensure the U.K. has the necessary skills, infrastructure and capacity to go from strength to strength."