A Look at the UK Film Industry and How It Could Be Impacted by Brexit

There has been much apprehension and fear regarding the future of the UK film industry post-Brexit and that is understandable, given that the EU Media Programme had put in €130 million for the development of the UK film, TV and gaming industries (2007-2015). However, according to the CEO of Red Rock Entertainment, Gary Collins, the UK film industry has little to worry about. Taking a look at some of the points Collins made in support of his argument and the overall situation of the industry, it seems like he is mostly right.

The US Factor

While it is true that the loss of investments from the European Union is an unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of Brexit, it will not affect the funding that the UK film industry receives from the United States in any way. As the industry had received investments crossing the £1.5 billion mark from the US in 2015 alone, Collins assured everyone concerned that all the fuss is mostly just “scaremongering for no reason.” In fact, the currently decreased value of the pound will actually encourage Hollywood producers to spend even more here in the UK than before, since it would fetch them more value for their money. It’s almost ironic that one of the worst effects of Brexit will actually mean more jobs and greater foreign investments for the industry!

Government Funding

The government has a healthy cash reserve on account of the big exit and that money will mostly go towards the maintenance and development of the country’s various businesses that are being directly or indirectly affected by Article 50. As the film business is most definitely one of them, it is expected that government funding is indeed on the cards.

Tax Relief

As a part of the European Union, all member nations were bound by the rule that state aid schemes must be levied on 80% of the total expenditure. What this basically meant was that a 20% tax rebate on a film’s expenses by the UK government would only be applicable to 80% of the total expenses, essentially reducing the tax rebate to 16%. As the government is no longer restricted by such complicated rules of the EU anymore, films in the UK should see better and simpler tax reliefs than before.

Exempt From the Effects of Single Digital Market

Most streaming services like Netflix and iTunes have a digital copyright restriction imposed across the world, which prevents users from accessing film, TV, and other media content in a foreign country, even if they have already paid for it in their own native country. The EU has plans to implement a Single Digital Market within the borders of all its member nations where such restrictions would not apply and the companies are to treat the entire Union as one single digital region. It isn’t hard to imagine that this consumer-centric decision would have a detrimental effect on the profits of the media industry within the EU. The UK film industry, on the other hand, won’t be as affected as it will no longer be a part of the Union.

Gary Collins agrees that initially, the number of movies made will take a hit, but mentions enthusiastically that it is not really a negative impact as fewer but better movies will now come of out of the UK, which would ultimately raise the standard of the art the industry represents.

 

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