West London named as global hotspot for film and TV industry

Image above: Filming in west London – via West London Film office

West London film industry attracted staggering £5.4 billion in investment in 2022

A recent report delving into the economic prospects of the film and TV industry has affirmed west London’s as a prominent global destination. The study, conducted by Saffery Champness LLP and Nordicity, commissioned by Hounslow Borough Council in collaboration with Creative Enterprise Zone West and Screen Capital West, aimed to scrutinise the local economic benefits of film and TV studios in West London.

Highlighting the area’s contribution to both the regional economy and serving as a model for other UK regions, the report revealed the substantial growth and job creation potential of the industry. It aimed to broaden the discourse beyond the immediate impact of film and TV production to encompass the entire supply chain across the sub-region.

Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the UK remains a premier choice for Hollywood productions, with a substantial uptick in film production reaching nearly £2 billion in 2022 after a temporary slump in 2020 and 2021.

Image above: Presentation of Young Film Makers award by Michael Attenborough at the 2023 Chsiwick In Film festival, which recognises the wealth of TV and film talent in Chiswick

The UK’s film and TV industry is an export-oriented sector, standing out as a key driver of the economy. In 2022 alone, the industry attracted a staggering £5.4 billion in inward investment production, reinforcing its pivotal role in the country’s service sector.

West London, comprising Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Hounslow, is strategically positioned to leverage these investments. The area hosts a significant workforce in film and TV, constituting one of the largest concentrations of industry professionals in the UK.

The report highlights the ripple effect of film and TV projects on various industries, encompassing building materials, security services, studio and equipment hires, and catering. Notably, expenditures on art department materials lead the spending, followed by location fees, services, security, and production equipment hires.

The study projects that a 100,000 sq. ft. stage space can generate between £60 million and £80 million in annual film and TV production expenditure, showcasing the substantial economic impact. Additionally, approximately 25% of a project’s budget is attributed to local spending, involving a myriad of suppliers and service providers across different sectors.

West London stands to benefit significantly from these supply chain expenditures, as evidenced by the presence of over 71 companies supporting film production in the area, including six film studios and 65 supply chain companies.

Image above: Set pieces for filming of Victorian drama in Barnes featuring Steven Graham along the Thames towpath; photograph Nick Raikes

“The original home of the British film industry”

Bill Boler, Partnerships Director, West London Business and Creative Enterprise West, commented on the findings:

“Most film and TV audits only look at job creation, whereas this study looked at the businesses in the film and TV supply chain, and so the wider economic impact of the film and TV industry. Given the setbacks experienced by the industry in 2023, this report shows the growth potential from the inevitable pent-up demand for production services that are expected in 2024 and beyond.”

Michelle Jenkins, Head of Production Services at Film London said:

As a freelance and often transient industry, key statistics regarding benefits for local regions are usually difficult to obtain.  So, it’s incredibly useful to have a study that provides the deep-dive data that we all need to highlight the true value of film and TV to West London, the original home of the British film industry.

“I am delighted to see that this report provides crucial information that will empower the region to invest, resource and ultimately grow our industry in the area to the benefit of local residents and businesses.”

Barry Bassett, Managing Director, VMI.TV Ltd, said:

“This is an incredibly positive report which stresses the importance of the value and impact of supply chains across our industry to generate the current £6bn+ annual GVA and which is projected to rise to £8bn by 2026 for the UK TV/Film Industry.  Ours is an incredibly integrated ecosystem, which sees all crafts benefitting in an expanding market and it is gratifying to hear the Government restate their commitment to supporting our world-class freelance workforce”.

Ryan Dean, Company Director, RD Studios, said:

“As the owner of a film studio in Park Royal, it’s exciting to see the tangible impact our creative sector has on the local economy. This study not only underscores the vital role of film and TV studios in driving economic growth but highlights our commitment to fostering a thriving ecosystem that not only supports a diverse array of talents and businesses. Film studios are more than just production spaces; they are heartbeats of local communities, contributing significantly to the cultural and economic vibrancy of West London.”