The UK’s TV and film industry has been warned it must double its production space by 2026 if it is to keep up with demand.
According to global real estate company Knight Frank, spending on UK film and television production rose from £2.85 billion in 2016 to £5.64 billion in 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 per cent.
If demand for fit-for-purpose studio space continues to grow at its current rate, Knight Frank anticipates that the UK will need an additional 6 million sq ft of studio space in the next five years.
Existing UK studios such as Pinewood, Shepperton, Elstree and Warner Bros. Studios at Leavesden are booked out for years in advance and turning away film and TV productions, said the company.
It added that with much of the UK’s existing c. 6 million sq ft of general stage facilities (units > 5,000 sq ft) increasingly oversubscribed, both international and UK film and TV production companies are finding it difficult to secure space, particularly around production hotspots in London and the South East.
This has triggered a wave of plans for new studio space across the UK. The number of planning consents for film studios has increased by 45 per cent between 2018 and 2021, while applications are up 35 per cent.
A brand new 1.3 million sq ft facility has been announced for Bedfordshire today.
Claire Williams, industrial and logistics research lead at Knight Frank, said: “With global video subscription revenue expected to continue to rise in the long-term and requirements for production space in the UK growing, investors and film studio platform operators who are able to deliver fit-for-purpose production space in good locations stand to benefit from robust occupier demand and a dependable income stream.
“The government’s Levelling Up agenda will also incentivise further investment and TV and film production beyond the M25, opening up a spectrum of opportunity for property investment as well as business growth and investment.”
As well as the new Bedfordshire-based facility, there are currently plans in place for new studios in Waltham Cross, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, and Reading.