LONDON: Despite the uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the EU, the weakening pound has cut costs for companies looking to invest in the country, as one Swiss company aiming to make high-end TV in the UK demonstrates.
Silver Reel, a Swiss production and finance company, which has a record of 35 feature films over the last 10 years, will launch a fund of £45.6 million (€50m) to make premium TV dramas in the UK, according to the Guardian.
Despite the risks of an uncertain Brexit, said Claudia Bluemhuber, managing partner at Silver Reel, “the time is now.
“The weakening pound is making this strategic move more cost-effective. There is a great deal of creative talent in the UK, and given our expertise in high-end [film] drama, we can easily transfer this to the world of television with a European focus.” The company is expected to develop a brace of £1m-per-episode shows.
Bluemhuber added that work was slated to begin soon. “Between series that Silver Reel is developing and series that other partners are bringing to us, we are looking into deploying about €50m, and our target is a minimum of two shows per year, starting 2018,” she said.
Though the fall in the sterling’s value has reduced the costs of TV production by around 10%, other factors make the UK an attractive host for a production company. Tax relief of up to 25% of expenditure kicks in when scripted dramas spend a minimum of £1m per broadcast hour.
This benefit has aided some heavyweight series such as HBO’s Game of Thrones, as well as shows by Netflix and Amazon.
According to the BFI, inward investment to the UK for high-end drama has nearly doubled from £252 back in 2013 to around £500m in 2016. Most of the benefit has been reaped by US companies, though Silver Reel joins French company Newen Group as the second European investor in premium UK TV.
Data sourced from the Guardian, British Film Commission; additional content by WARC staff.