Scottish Culture Minister Angus Robertson has said the value of the Scottish television and film industry could double to £1 billion by the end of the decade.
He was speaking at the launch of a new report by Screen Scotland, the Scottish government agency promoting Scotland’s television and film sector, which shows that the industry contributed around £568m to Scotland’s economy in 2019.
Robertson accused the UK government of undermining public broadcasting, which he described as the “cornerstone” of television production in Scotland.
He said: “Across the piece in Scotland we can be very pleased with the progress that has been made in recent years.
“We need to make sure that we avoid the bumps in the road, which we are unfortunately currently having with the UK government and seek to undermine public service broadcasters like Channel 4, which is looking at its privatization, and what it is doing with the BBC licensing fees.
“These are bad developments for public service broadcasters who remain the cornerstone of television production in Scotland.”
Screen Scotland and Mr Robertson said the figure was expected to rise to £568m after a product demand boom in Scotland in 2021, which included Indiana Jones, Batman, Batgirl and The Rig, starring Martin Compston.
Robertson has estimated that the value of the screen industry in Scotland could double to £1 billion.
He added: “This report confirms that the value of the industry is now three times greater than previously thought.
“If the growth trend continues, it will grow from half a billion pounds to one billion pounds by 2030. This is huge news for the Scottish economy as a whole.
“We have gone from a situation in Scotland where we had very little film and television production, very limited studio space, very limited investment, and very limited business opportunities. All of this has been completely changed in recent years, with the proliferation of new studios.
“The Scottish government is trying to help the growth trend continue in terms of helping to secure studio space, helping secure new TV and film productions, but then also helping to train people who want to work in the film and television industry, because companies that want to shoot production work. In Scotland you need to know the talent is here to do all the important jobs, on site, pre-production and post-production.”
The report, commissioned by Screen Scotland and produced by Saffery Champness and Nordicity, also shows that the industry has created 10,280 full-time equivalent jobs – and managers expect job demand to increase in Scotland.
David Smith, Director of Screen at Screen Scotland, said: “It’s one of our primary jobs at the moment, developing the crew base. We have the spaces, we need crew to work within. Some of these things will be developed within Scotland, some will be diverted from other interests within Scotland, Theater sector staff now often work in the film sector.
“When you grew up, if you wanted to work in film and television you had to take a bus, you had to take a train, you had to get on a plane. And that is not the case anymore. You can stay, live and work in Scotland. And there are good value jobs.”
Isabel Davis, chief executive at Screen Scotland, said: “We will grow, if we are able to train the local crew base and develop creative talent, they will be the creators of upcoming shows as well.
“We see these two things working hand in hand, and we see them as a virtuous circle.
Every film economy in the world is currently facing a skills challenge, and it is certainly very acute in the UK. We’ve been very successful in general like the UK and more recently in Scotland in attracting those large scale productions.
But what it does mean is that supply and demand need to be reset, to put them in quite technical terms. What that means on Earth is that our crew is incredibly busy.”
Screen Scotland was established in 2019 and is leading the development of the film and television industry in Scotland. It is part of Creative Scotland and receives funding from the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.