The United Kingdom enjoys a stellar reputation as a creative powerhouse. In a 2020 press release, the UK government highlighted the remarkable contribution of the creative industries, which amounted to an impressive £13.2 million per hour. This translated to an annual contribution of approximately £115.9 billion in 2019, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Notably, the creative sector is expanding at a pace that significantly outpaces the national average growth rate, surpassing it by a factor of five. With its substantial capabilities in research and development, the UK remains a global driving force for innovation within the creative industries.
The United Kingdom excels in several creative industries, each offering lucrative opportunities for investors:
Video Game Production
- The UK is Europe’s leading video game market and ranks as the sixth-largest globally.
- In 2020, total UK revenue from video game production reached £2.6 billion.
- The global video games industry is projected to be worth £200 billion by 2025, making this sector highly appealing for investors.
- The UK boasts a highly skilled workforce in the video game industry, with a growing number of graduates in related courses.
- Immersive technologies used in video game production are also being applied in other sectors, including aerospace, automotive, space, and healthcare.
Advertising and Marketing
- The UK advertising industry exports £11 billion in services annually, and expenditure on advertising in the UK is expected to reach £29.3 billion by the end of 2021.
- The UK is home to over 15,500 film and video companies and maintains high advertising standards through the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Effectiveness Awards.
- The advertising technology sector, valued at £16.5 billion in 2020, continues to grow, with digital advertisements gaining wider usage.
Television and Film Production
- There is a strong demand for British-made television and film.
- The British Film Institute and ScreenSkills have collaborated to create 30,000 new jobs and train 10,000 individuals to meet this demand over the next five years.
- In 2020, high-end British television production expenditure amounted to £1.5 billion, with forecasts estimating it to reach £6 billion in the coming years.
- Streaming giants like Netflix and Sky are investing in the sector, with significant funding allocated for staff training and infrastructure development.
These sectors collectively represent vibrant and expanding opportunities for investment in the UK’s creative industries.
The United Kingdom’s creative industries have made a substantial impact on both its domestic and global economies:
- In 2019, creative industries exports were valued at £17.9 billion.
- According to Oxford Economics, this sector is expected to grow by over 26% by 2025, contributing an estimated £132.1 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy.
- Creative industries are seen as a key driver in the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
- Increased investment in this sector is projected to generate an additional £28 billion for the economy by 2025 and create 300,000 more jobs.
These figures underscore the importance and potential for growth in the UK’s creative industries, making them a significant contributor to the country’s economic development and job creation.
The United Kingdom is home to various regions with distinct strengths in the creative industries:
- Manchester boasts a significant pool of specialist talent, with an 86,000-strong creative workforce.
- The city benefits from a steady influx of graduates from its five universities, with 25,000 students currently enrolled in creative, digital, and technology courses.
- It is also the location of the MediaCity development, serving as a base for BBC and ITV Granada.
- Northern Ireland offers increased studio capacity and 25% tax breaks for productions, attracting streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO.
- High-profile productions such as ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Fall’ have been filmed in various locations across the country.
- Studio Ulster, a specialist institute focused on innovation in virtual production, has been recently established in Belfast.
Coventry and Warwickshire
- Warwickshire houses 15% of the UK’s games producers, distributed across 80 studios.
- The area is home to two world-renowned universities with courses in games technology, Coventry University and the University of Warwick.
- The cross-university Disruptive Media Learning Lab promotes exploration in creative technology.
- London is renowned for its prestigious art colleges, including the Royal College of Art and the University of the Arts London.
- The city produces some of the finest talents across the creative industries and offers a strong research and development base.
- A new Design District has been established in Greenwich, featuring 16 buildings accommodating up to 1,800 artists.
- Guildford, located near London, is a hub for globally renowned creative content excellence, with a particular focus on immersive technology.
- The region hosts more than 110 games development studios, including notable names like Hello Games, Media Molecule, and Bullfrog Productions (now part of EA UK).
- Guildford is home to over 1,800 creative tech professionals, contributing to its thriving creative ecosystem.
These regions collectively contribute to the UK’s vibrant and diverse creative landscape, fostering innovation, talent, and economic growth across various sectors of the creative industries.
The United Kingdom boasts a dynamic research and development scene within the creative arts, with a substantial number of creative firms actively engaging in the development of new or significantly improved products and services over the past three years.
The UK is home to a range of world-renowned art colleges, including The Royal College of Art in London, which has been ranked as the No.1 university for art and design globally by the QS World University Rankings 2021.
In the field of advertising and marketing, institutions like the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and Market Research Society (MRS) play a vital role in setting industry standards and overseeing innovations in UK-produced marketing campaigns.
The Creative Industries Cluster Programme is a notable initiative that has invested £80 million to drive innovation within the sector. This program has been successful in bridging world-class research talent with internationally renowned creative businesses, fostering collaboration and advancements. As an example, Future Fashion Factory received £1 million in funding to support projects, including the development of an AI-powered virtual fitting service and an integrated design platform for creatives, highlighting the commitment to innovation in the creative industries.
Business and government support
The UK government is committed to supporting its creative industries, as evidenced by key announcements in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021:
- £42 million has been earmarked to bolster the creative industries, with a specific focus on providing funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to expand their operations.
- There is an emphasis on supporting the UK’s independent film and video game industries, acknowledging their significance within the creative sector.
Additionally, creative industry companies involved in television, film, and theatre productions may qualify for Corporation Tax Relief from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Furthermore, there is Corporation Tax Video Games Tax Relief available for the production of video games certified as being British-made by the British Film Institute (BFI).
The British Film Institute offers a Production Fund, where filmmakers can seek grants to support productions with values ranging from £250,000 to £15,000,000, providing valuable financial assistance for creative projects in the industry. These measures collectively promote innovation, growth, and sustainability within the UK’s creative sector.