Filming on location in London generates almost £170 million, says consultancy

13 July 2018 3 min. read
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London sees around £168 million in benefits from location filming every year, according to a new study. Productions typically spend twice as much on the local economy as they do on administrative fees in the capital, seeing an average of more than £27,000 per day added to London’s most popular boroughs for filmmakers.

The silver screen might more aptly be named a gold mine on the strength of recent growth figures in the film industry. Global cinema box office revenues have boomed in the past few years, and are fast approaching the $40 billion mark. While much is written of the successes and failures of the cinema scene with regard to the profits of big studios, however, little is made of the industry’s impact on its grassroots.

Now, a new research piece commissioned by Film London has revealed that rolling on location in the UK capital generates an annual turnover of £168 million. The study, performed by BOP Consulting, examined Film London data on location filming days for the first time, alongside an industrial survey of associated spending, to demonstrate the economic benefit that film has on London and its 33 boroughs during location filming days.

Filming on location in London generates almost £170 million, says consultancy

The analysts deduced that for every pound spent by Location Managers on the filming of features on local authority charges – including administrative fees and logistical costs such as road closures – a further £2.76 is generated for the local economies of the boroughs. According to the firm, the £2.76 is composed of £1.79 which goes to local businesses such as cafes, shops and hotels, while the other 97p passes into local supply chains.

While the figure on its own sounds meagre, it means that for a feature film which typically spends £10,000 a day on local council fees, an additional £27,600 benefit will be seen in the local economy. In London’s current economy, this is the equivalent of enough money to support 1,680 full-time jobs. On top of this, BOP Consulting found that dramas shot for television in London were an additional boon for council coffers, contributing a further £5,300 per filming day in 2017. Overall, this totals the £168 million figure at the forefront of the consulting firm’s study.

Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Camden were the three boroughs to see this benefit from filming most in 2017, while other popular locations were Battersea Park, the River Thames and Victoria Embankment. Films shot in the UK capital in the past 12 months included popular children’s sequel ‘Paddington 2’, and Joe Wright’s acclaimed Winston Churchill biopic ‘Darkest Hour’, and the city’s popularity with filmmakers looks set to continue through 2018. Earlier in the year, Hollywood stalwart Tom Cruise was spotted filming stunts on top of the Tate Modern for the latest instalment of the adrenaline-fuelled ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise, while London is also set to grace the big screen in Mary Poppins Returns, as well as the greatly anticipated 25th outing of screen icon James Bond, which will be helmed by Oscar winning director Danny Boyle.

Commenting on the landmark research, Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said, “Location filming, whether it’s around London’s most famous landmarks or in anonymous warehouse space, has a very real benefit for local economies. We hope that by highlighting this we can encourage more local authorities to help us to unlock additional space, maintain the industry’s skills base and ensure London retains its competitive edge so that it remains at the heart of the global film and TV industry.”