Report – UK Creativity – Talent-Driven and World Beating
- There is a huge opportunity for growth in the sector and the UK should be taking a bigger share of the global market, which is a £260bn industry.
- A strategy for skills training on a large scale is required.
- Tax relief is a great scheme for investments but needs to be revised to be more competitive.
This session discussed how UK creative talent is attracting international investment, with leading businesses flocking to set up studios in the UK or work on co-productions. What does this mean for the local landscape for kids’ content in the UK?
After introductions by the panel of speakers, including Sally Marchant, Walid Omar, Mark Taylor and Kate O’Connor, host K. J. Yossman kicked off the questions by asking why UK children’s media is attractive for international investment. The panellists praised the massive pool of talent in the UK and our world-renowned broadcasting, with its long history of producing strong content. For pre-school content, the UK has strong IP which has been sold globally and helped establish the UK as a real hot spot. Investors are acknowledging strengths, but the UK industry has often failed to celebrate them.
The panel agreed that UK talent is also attractive due to the strong connection with broadcasters, which sets it apart from other markets. Another attribute is companies with founding members that have both creative and business knowledge.
Trust is a big component when working with teams based in remote places. Advantages to working with international teams include:
- staff retention
- greater production muscle
- developing training and software which we can be used across different groups
- plugging into an established distribution system.
Challenges include differences in working culture – you need to find ways to bridge the gap and find a middle ground, whilst still getting the best out of both teams.
Practical things to consider when considering international investment include all the legal processes, which can be time-consuming. Mark talked about how it made his company review what they were doing, what they wanted from the partnership and where they wanted to be in the future. They had to put everything in order and worked closely with the legal team to make sure that everything was watertight.
Walid would advise studios that are looking to grow to look not only at the creative side of things but focus on a five-to-ten-year business strategy. As for those who don’t have the time for investors and require support, Animation UK can help.
Brexit has created considerable disadvantages to the industry, but Kate stated that they have found ways to bypass Brexit through investments, partnerships and co-productions, as well as by setting up a strong relationship with producers and studios in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
There is still work that needs to be done in the industry around crewing up and skills training, which requires innovative recruitment. It can’t be just through university training and the apprenticeship system. The tax incentive scheme has been very helpful but when compared to the tax credit offered by Ireland and France, we need to revisit ours.
Lil Critter Workshop
Children's Media Consultant