Digital media in the UK

The UK embraces digital. We have the market conditions, skilled workers and the financial incentives your business needs to thrive.

Overview

If you have a great digital product or service you’ll be welcomed here. UK consumers have a huge appetite for new digital services, devices and creative offerings.

Our world-class creative production services and digital technologies are driving a fast growing market of global importance.

Technology has transformed the creative scene and the booming digital economy allows businesses to set up easily and expand globally, from London and other UK digital centres.

An environment for growth

The UK is home to the world’s biggest online spenders. We’re a nation of established internet users and early adopters, with over 64% of households having 3 or more internet enabled devices. By 2017, 95% of UK homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband. Current coverage is already higher than France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The sector saw Gross Value Added (GVA) of all digital tech in the UK grow by 27% between 2010 and 2014, with GVA for 2014 reaching 87 billion GBP.

A 2015 World Economic Forum report cites the UK as one of the best environments in the world for informations and communications technology (ICT) development.

Current digital media opportunities in the UK

Creative disruption is driving digital advertising

The size of the UK digital advertising market was 7.2 billion GBP in 2014. Mobile advertising increased to 1.6 billion GBP; that’s up 63% on the previous year.

Delivering targeted and effective advertising has also generated new business segments which are thriving here. That means many new opportunities for market entrants in areas such as programmatic trading, native advertising and analytics.

Personalisation is boosting mobile

The UK is Europe’s largest mobile content market, with over 1 billion GBP spent on mobile applications, content and services each year. It also has the highest mobile advertising spend per head. Our e-commerce market was worth 104 billion GBP in 2014.

Mobile in the UK has been boosted by our strong leadership in personalisation of platforms and content, an increase in smartphones and choice of mobile contracts, and a strong games and advertising industry. This is all supported by an enhanced mobile network infrastructure.

More mobile advertising networks are setting up in the UK, providing greater options to generate revenue from content.

Other growth opportunities include:

  • social media – Britons are amongst the biggest users of social networks in Europe
  • digital radio and TV – the UK has one of the world’s largest digital radio networks, and 97% of UK homes have digital TV
  • innovative tech in production and art – for example sensors and motion capture in film
  • digital music – accounted for 54% of all music consumption in 2015

Our offer has ensured investment by some of the world’s biggest digital players including Google, Facebook and Amazon, and Alibaba.

The UK has a deep pool of creative talent

With digital education now heavily emphasised from junior schools to postgraduate level, we have the people you need to ensure your company’s long term growth.

The UK has an educated and skilled digital workforce operating in a highly competitive environment, which keeps it at the cutting edge.

Our universities are ranked second in the world for the quality of their industry collaboration and we have around 120,000 students studying digital media-related disciplines. Our college courses have a strong focus on skills that support interactive media, mobile and games development. The result is a deep talent pool, from software engineers and developers to animators and games designers.

Working from the UK means you’ll be operating within a large research community and an ecosystem of partners, academic institutions and skilled workers. These networks mean smaller companies can easily work with and learn from each other, and collaborate with major firms too.
London’s global status and our regional hotspots

London has been rated top for technology readiness in a study of 30 of the world’s most dynamic cities, and is considered to be the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs.

Tech City in London’s East End has grown to become a global centre for creative digital companies. Startups like adtech pioneers Unruly have scaled up globally from the capital.

The North of England also has several centres of digital media excellence. There are centres in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Rotherham, Leeds, Hull, Sunderland and the Newcastle and Durham areas. Together they generated 9.9 billion GBP GVA to the UK economy in 2014. The potential for growth is great, with a further 6 billion GBP estimated by 2020.

There are other clusters of digital talent across the UK, most notably in Brighton, Reading and Cambridge.

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