Studio progress

Scotland’s screen industry set to double in value

Martin Compston will star in the new Amazon series The Rig, made in the new Leith Docks studios

Scotland’s film and television sector could be worth £1bn by 2030, almost twice its pre-Covid size, according to a Screen Scotland-sponsored report.

A just-released study based on activity in 2019 estimated that the Scottish TV, film, VFX, animation, post-production, distribution and supply chains contributed £567.6m to the economy, accounting for 10,280 full-time equivalent jobs.

Since then new studios have opened in converted warehouses in Leith, Bathgate and Glasgow.

Investment in production and development from indies including Firecrest Films, STV Studios, and Two Rivers contributed £315m in 2019 – as well as 5,120 full time jobs.

Scotland’s film festivals and cinema going were said to have been worth £88m, TV broadcasting £51m and screen-related tourism, such as visits to locations by fans of Harry Potter, Outlander and James Bond, valued at £55m.

The 2019 report covers the period before the onset of Covid and the first full year following the establishment of Screen Scotland in late 2018. A follow-up 2021 study is in progress and will be published early next year. It is expected to reflect a boom in Scotland-based production.

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Recent series from the nation include Black Camel Pictures’ Annika, Happy Tramp North and Expectation’s Guilt, Bandicoot’s The Masked Singer, Wild Mercury’s The Rig, STV Studios’ Screw and World Productions’ Vigil.

Screen Scotland executive director Isabel Davis said the study set a valuation on the sector that was far higher than previous estimates.

“So robust is the growth since 2019 that we now believe that if Scotland maintains current levels of investment in skills, infrastructure and talent development within the screen sector, that further significant growth is not only possible but highly likely — GVA for the screen sector in Scotland could double to £1 billion by 2030,” she said.

Screen Scotland director David Smith highlighted the BBC and Channel 4, which were responsible for 87% of PSB expenditure, as the “cornerstones” of the creative economy. The report found the PSBs spent an £197m on production, with a further £61m invested in broadcasting support operations, supporting some 2,790 jobs.

Culture secretary Angus Robertson said: “Supporting the screen sector is a key priority for the Scottish government and we are committed to ensuring that this growth continues to develop our sustainable creative economy.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The report acknowledges that Outlander has been the largest contributor to screen tourism.

“It continues to inspire legions of fans from Northern America and Europe to visit filming locations and explore attractions associated with the Jacobite Rising.  

“However, with Batman, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Fast and Furious and Avengers – some of the world’s biggest film franchises – all using Scotland as a location in recent years, there is huge potential for growth.” 



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