U.K.'s Local Film, TV Investment Grew Prior to Virus Shutdown

The Witcher-Publicity 3-H 2019

While Hollywood spend in the U.K. kept its upward trajectory across both film and high-end TV, spend on local independent productions plummeted.

The U.K.'s film and TV industries have seen a record spend on production despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest figures from the British Film Institute. 

The Q1 figures — which cover January through March 2020 and thus the beginning of the lockdown period — reveal that film and high-end TV spend reached a record £3.6 billion ($4.4 billion) over 12 months prior to the end of March, up £200 million on the previous 12 month April-to-March period. 

Inward investment was by far the predominant factor in this, with spend on 161 productions — including the likes of Jurassic World: Dominion, The Batman and The Witcher — hitting £3.1 billion ($3.8 billion).

Even with a shutdown in production and 17 postponed projects, the U.K. production sector achieved £651 million ($804 million) in spend in Q1, making it the second-highest Q1 spend ever.

According to the BFI, in normal circumstances, had productions set to start in Q1 been able to go ahead, the U.K. would have notched a spend of £1.077 billion on film and high-end TV production, a record figure for Q1 results. 

However, while Hollywood investment in the U.K. continued its sharp upward trajectory, spend on local independent production dropped significantly from April 2019 to March 2020, falling 54 percent from the previous year to £132.3 million ($163.5 million).