UK high-end TV spend hit $5.3bn in 2022, reports BFI

Doctor Who

A record £6.27bn ($7.68bn) was spent on high-end TV (HETV) and film production in the UK last year, according to the British Film Institute (BFI).

The latest figures from the BFI’s research and statistics unit show significant growth in UK film and HETV production with a record level of spend contributing to the recovery of the sector following the global pandemic.

Of the total £6.27bn spend, £4.3bn ($5.3bn) of that was contributed by HETV production – more than £2bn ahead of pre-pandemic 2019 levels – with feature film production contributing £1.97bn.

Inward investment delivered £5.37bn, or 86% of the combined total, up from £5.08bn in 2021, which the BFI said underlined “the UK’s global reputation as the world-leading centre for film and TV production.”

Of the total £4.3bn HETV production spend, inward investment shows contributed £3.62bn – 84% of total HETV spend and a 3% decrease on 2021, while domestic UK shows accounted for £632.7m, representing a 15% of total HETV spend and a 4% decrease on 2021.

However, the 2022 spend represents an 88% increase on 2019’s pre-pandemic spend £2.29 billion. Meanwhile, co-production spend was £36.5m, which was less than 1% of total spend but a near three-fold increase on 2021.

Happy Valley

Increased streamer investment

The BFI said the production statistics also revealed an increasing investment made by streamer platforms in single long-form productions.

In 2022, there were 22 single domestic UK and inward investment productions which contributed £938.8m to the HETV spend of £4.3bn, including titles such as Steve McQueen’s Blitz and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon. This spend represents a 23% increase on 2021’s £765m spend on single productions.

Of the 195 HETV productions that started principal photography in 2022, 55% were inward investment, 41% were domestic UK projects and 4% were co-productions.

The 80 domestic UK productions represents the second highest number of productions since the introduction of the tax relief exceeded by 2021’s record level of activity.

Inward investment HETV productions made last year include season two of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power, season three of BBC One’s Happy Valley and season two of Apple TV+’s Slow Horses.

Domestic HETV productions from 2022, meanwhile, included ITVX’s Nolly, BBC One’s Doctor Who and Sky Atlantic’s I Hate Suzie Too.

The UK spend associated with co-production in 2022 was £36.5m, accounting for 1% of the total spend. This is the highest UK spend seen for HETV co-productions and 78% higher than the £20.5 million spend in 2019. Productions included Wolf, Domina and Death In Paradise.

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive said: “Today’s record-breaking figures for film and TV production in the UK are great news for our industry and the UK economy and underlines the success of our industry at a global level.

“Our world-class talent, craft and production services, and vital film and TV tax reliefs, have enabled the UK to be a major player in a highly competitive global industry. Further investment in expanding studio space UK-wide to meet production demand will continue to build on this economic success and create further jobs.”

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