Screen boost

Film and TV sector enjoys surge in spending

Martin Compston
Martin Compston in The Rig

Scotland’s film and television sector has benefited from a surge in spending which led to the creation of 2,000 jobs in two years.

Research conducted by Saffery Champness and Nordcity for Screen Scotland found £617.4 million was spent on the production of film, TV and audio-visual content in 2021, a 55% rise from £398.6m in 2019.

Investment into production of film and high-end television more than doubled in the same time frame, from £165.3m to £347.4m.

The sector has contributed £627m to Scotland’s economy in gross value added (GVA).

The production sub-sector, the research said, now supports 7,150 full-time equivalent jobs in Scotland as of 2021 from 5,120 in 2019.

The increased prosperity of the sector, according to the study, has been spurred by the 2018 creation of Screen Scotland and the development work the agency has undertaken.

This includes the expansion of FirstStage Studios in Edinburgh, and The Pyramids near Bathgate, West Lothian, where Prime Video series The Rig and Good Omens have been filmed respectively.

Isabel Davis, the executive director of Screen Scotland, said: “The growth in all forms of production in Scotland between 2019 and 2021 is a phenomenal result.

“It shows us that public investment via Screen Scotland in infrastructure, development, production and skills development, combined with attractive levels of production incentive are the catalyst for a successful industry.

“Now is the time to build on these newly created jobs and growth with a sustained funding commitment towards skills development, attraction of large-scale productions and a focus on the development of locally originated film and television.

“Screen Scotland is committed to delivering further growth, working hand in hand with the commercial production and studio sectors.

“This will rely upon sustained funding and support in order for Scotland to seize the opportunities ahead of it and see that growth trajectory continue.”

Suzanne Reid, a series producer on The Rig, said: “As I progressed in my career the higher-level productions I wanted to work on just didn’t exist in Scotland, in part due to a lack of studio facilities – so I had to head to England and Wales for this type of work.

“It has been wonderful to be working back at home and to be able to work alongside our brilliantly talented Scottish crew on such a highly ambitious series.” 

Bob Last, co-owner of FirstStage, said: “We are pleased to have rapidly built relationships with, in particular Amazon Prime Video, enabling us to play a part in anchoring more of this global industry and its varied employment opportunities in Scotland and Leith.”

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said the report showed “another banner year” for the sector.

“The scale of the return to the Scottish economy from the investment in screen production is remarkable,” he added.

“Beyond film and TV, this report also highlights how our tourism, hospitality and construction sectors have benefitted from this investment through screen tourism, catering contracts, and infrastructure expansion, and the supply chains that support these activities.

“The efforts of Screen Scotland have been key to this result and we are committed to working with them and the sector to ensure this growth and the wider benefits being delivered can continue.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.