Brexit has had worse impact on UK than Covid says Beaune

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Last year, the streaming giant spent $1bn (£740m) making around 60 TV shows and films including The Crown and Sex Education in the Surrey-based studios. But now, in a major investment move, Netflix is looking to ramp up its British-made content.

Anna Mallett, vice-president of physical production for the UK and EMEA region, said: “We are delighted to announce the expansion of our production presence in the UK.

“The new contract with Shepperton highlights our commitment to investing in the UK creative industry and will provide a wealth of opportunities and production jobs, from entry-level to heads of department.”

This new investment comes as Shepperton Studios is preparing to more than double in size.

The parent company, Pinewood Studios – where the likes of the Bond franchise and Star Wars are shot – received planning permission to expand the studios from 14 stages to 31.

Netflix will now use the expanded site on completion in 2023 but will not take up all the new space.

The Pinewood Group chairman, Paul Golding, added: “We are thrilled to be going ahead with the next phase of expansion at Shepperton Studios.

“We’re especially pleased to be strengthening our partnership with Netflix.

“Their commitment to expand at Shepperton enables us to continue our investment into this great studio.”

Netflix has increased the amount of studio space it has access to in the UK, which is its largest production base outside the US.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was told to “push back hard” after the EU was preparing to slash the “disproportionate” amount of British TV and film content shown across Europe.

The UK is Europe’s biggest producer of film and TV content but, following Britain’s departure from the bloc, its dominance has been described as a threat to Europe’s “cultural diversity”, according to an internal EU document seen by the Guardian.

Under the EU’s audiovisual media services directive, the majority of airtime must be given to European content on terrestrial TV.

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It must also make up 30 percent of the number of titles on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

Other countries have increased their quotas for European works on video-on-demand platforms.

But the document, tabled with diplomats on June 8, said in the “aftermath of Brexit” the inclusion of UK content in such quotas had led to a “disproportionate” amount of British content on EU TV.

The document said the amount of UK content may “affect the fulfilment” of promoting European works and cultural diversity.

It read: “The high availability of UK content in video-on-demand services, as well as the privileges granted by the qualification as European works, can result in a disproportionate presence of UK content within the European video on demand quota and hinder a larger variety of European works (including from smaller countries or less spoken languages).

“Therefore the disproportionality may affect the fulfilment of the objectives of promotion of European works and cultural diversity aimed by the audiovisual media services directive.

“The concerns relate to how Brexit will impact the audiovisual production sector in the European Union as, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, the UK provides half of the European TV content presence of VOD in Europe and the UK works are the most actively promoted on VOD, while the lowest EU27 share of promotion spots is also found in the UK.

“Although the UK is now a third country for the European Union, its audiovisual content still qualifies as ‘European works’ according to the definition provided by the AVMS directive, as the definition continues to refer to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe, to which the UK remains a party.”

However, industry figures said the move to define UK content as something other than European would hit the British industry hard.

Adam Minns, the executive director of the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), said: “Selling the international intellectual property rights to British programmes has become a crucial part of financing production in certain genres, such as drama.

“Losing access to a substantial part of EU markets would be a serious blow for the UK TV sector, right across the value chain from producers to broadcasters to creatives.”

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