Fall in investment

Spending falls in Scottish TV drama and comedy

Simon Pitts

Simon Pitts: ‘the numbers are going in the wrong direction’

STV chief executive Simon Pitts has revealed that investment in drama and comedy made in Scotland halved over the five years to 2019.

A report, conducted on behalf of the broadcaster by Mediatique, also indicated that Scotland has gone backwards in terms of the proportion of nations and regions output it produces – slipping from 20% to 17%.

It accounts for 5% of all UK spend on production, despite comprising 8% of the population, reports Broadcast.

STV chief executive Simon Pitts raised his concerns in his address to the Creative Cities Convention (CCC), which is being hosted virtually from Glasgow.

“The truth of the matter is that the numbers are going in the wrong direction,” he said.

“The only returning drama series the PSBs [public service broadcasters] make in Scotland is Shetland. It’s a brilliant show but on its own it can’t sustain a whole sector. That’s why we really need this focus on nations and regions. The focus needs to be on returnability as the rule not the exception.”

STV production arm STV Studios has a number of shows in production, including Channel 4 six-part drama Screw.

Pitts said it is vital that the BBC and C4 stick to  their nations and regions commitments.

“We’ve seen really strong statements from [them] on the need to invest more and that is crucial,” he said.

“If there is one good thing to come out of the five years of Brexit-related uncertainty, it’s that the [PSBs] have realised that their output has to reflect the whole of the UK, not just the south east and urban centres.”

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