Netflix adds support to ScreenSkills UK unscripted talent fund

Brandon Riegg

Netflix has become the latest industry player to support the Unscripted TV Skills Fund, set up by UK TV skills body ScreenSkills.

The fund was launched in June this year to address skills gaps and shortages in unscripted television across the UK and build a bigger pool of off-screen crew and talent in the nations and regions.

Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series at Netflix, made the announcement during a debate at the Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge this week, discussing how the global demand for production skills and talent has never been higher.

“We’re delighted to work alongside our industry partners, ScreenSkills and Pact to support the Unscripted TV Skills Fund,” said Riegg.

“The fund will invest matched contributions from broadcasters and productions to address skills shortages, build a more inclusive workforce and future-proof the industry by helping the UK to retain its world class position as a hub of creativity and best-in class crew.”

Netflix’s support follows a commitment from Channel 5 last month, with both joining launch partners the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, A+E Networks UK and Discovery UK.

The streamer has been increasing its UK investment recently, in January announcing plans to invest £350,000 (USD $478,000) to help create opportunities for young and up-and-coming Black creators in the country to break into screen production.

The streamer also revealed a record-breaking $1bn UK production spend at the end of last year. Netflix increased its budget by 50% during 2020 on the £500m that it spent on British-made productions in 2019.

Jane Muirhead, MD at UK indie Raise the Roof, and chair of the Unscripted TV Skills Council, commented: “The new Unscripted TV Skills Fund is designed to ensure that we can continue to invest in finding and training the behind-the-camera talent and crew who are vital to producing a wide range of unscripted genres. We welcome more partners in this mission.”

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