New report gives first clear picture of the economic value of Scotland’s screen sector

Industry News  |  23 June 2022

Today, Thursday 23 June 2022, Screen Scotland publishes the first comprehensive study of its kind evidencing the value of Scotland’s film and TV industries to the country’s employment and economic prosperity. 

Commissioned by Screen Scotland and produced by Saffery Champness and Nordicity, the new independent report finds that the screen sector in Scotland contributed £567.6million to Scotland’s economy in 2019, providing 10,280 full time equivalent jobs.   

The wide-ranging study analyses the economic contribution of the screen sector value chain – film and TV development and production, animation, VFX and post-production, film and TV distribution, TV broadcast, film exhibition – and extends into the supply chains that provide services at each stage of the content process, including facilities, equipment, transport, catering and accommodation.  Beyond that direct supply chain, the study looks at where the screen sector stimulates economic activity elsewhere in the Scottish economy: screen tourism, the education and training sectors and infrastructure. 

Screen Scotland Executive Director Isabel Davis, Culture Secretary Angus Robertson and BE United’s CEO Emma Picken at First Stage Studios. Credit: Neil Hanna

The report covers 2019, the year before the onset of Covid and the first full year following the establishment of Screen Scotland in late 2018. A follow up study of 2021, the year in which the current boom in Scotland-based production started in earnest, is in progress and will be published in early 2023.  

A strategy for the Scottish screen sector needs robust numbers – they reveal where there’s room for growth, the interdependencies of related sub sectors, along with the spillover benefits to tourism, retail, hospitality and construction.   

This is the first true benchmark of the value of Scotland’s screen sector and it’s far larger than has been captured by previous studies. Better still, we see the potential to double GVA by 2030, if investment in local content, production skills and infrastructure continues.   

Ultimately our goal is to strengthen locally originated production and the many industries that surround it.  The positive interaction between large scale incoming production and the local sector, recently evidenced in productions such as Good Omens and Batgirl, is an important part of that picture.

Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s Executive Director

This Report confirms how strong Scotland’s screen sector was in 2019.

Significantly the Safferys/Nordicity report also reveals that the UK’s public service broadcasters, particularly the BBC and Channel 4, were the cornerstones in our creative economy in 2019. They spent an estimated £196.6 million on content production in Scotland in 2019, and a further £61.1m on their broadcasting support operations in Scotland, such as transmission, sales and marketing, administration and other overheads.

The PSBs are vital to the Scottish screen sector’s continued good health, particularly the BBC and Channel 4, the publicly owned PSBS. Between them the BBC and Channel 4 accounted for 87% all PSB expenditure in Scotland in 2019.

David Smith, Director of Screen at Screen Scotland

This report shows the exceptional growth that Scotland’s film and TV industries have experienced in recent years; generating millions for the economy, creating thousands of jobs and providing opportunities for skills and talent development in roles across the sector. 

This comprehensive study demonstrates the value of the screen sector to other parts of Scotland’s economy, including hospitality and tourism. It highlights the important place that screen has in generating and sustaining employment and the vital role of public service broadcasters in contributing to that growth. 

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, making Scotland an attractive place to live and work for people across the creative industries.

Angus Robertson, Culture Secretary

People who work in the screen sector in Scotland have in their gift a chance to go even further than we already have in our very successful recent period, by supporting large scale productions as well as bringing through Scottish voices with confidence onto an international platform. 

It’s great to see the full value of film and TV recognised in this report.  Scottish Government and its agencies across the country will build on this success by continuing to invest seriously in skills and talent, and by responding nimbly and ambitiously to the needs of productions.

Douglas Mackinnon, Director and Showrunner

The full Economic Value of the Screen Sector in Scotland report is available to download from Screen Scotland website, alongside an accompanying summary report which also includes a variety of case studies: