Sky: media business and Govt could unlock billions together

Sky: media business and Govt could unlock billions together
Sky’s Group CEO Dana Strong at its West London HQ

Sky has urged the UK government to commit to five key policy priorities in order to inject an extra £10bn into the UK economy.

The UK’s leading pay-TV operator said that if government and media business work more closely together to bring investment and skills into the sector, it could be worth £53bn by 2033, marking an increase from £43bn in 2021.

The company unveiled its findings at RTS Cambridge, in partnership with Public First and Oxford Economics, today. Its report revealed growth could contribute an additional 40,000 jobs to the UK economy, dependent on whether growth continues at its current rate and with the support of the Government.

The research highlighted significant domestic and international demand for British content, with one in two UK adults “more likely” to watch a TV show if it is set in the UK.

British content “commands a disproportionate share of the international market” and so has a high potential for export revenue, with international demand for British content on course to increase by 50% by 2033.

Direct exports is expected to provide £2bn for UK tourism, as overseas fans travel to see iconic locations from their favourite shows.

In the same research, Sky said it alone contributed £20bn to UK GDP, broadcasted 70,000 hours of “elite sports coverage” and invested £130m to provide news to consumers free of charge.

Dana Strong, Group CEO at Sky, said: “We face a unique opportunity for the UK to be a global powerhouse of creative production, scaling up to meet growing demand both at home and overseas.

“If our industry and the UK Government work together to invest in skills, innovation, and key infrastructure, we will succeed in creating more prosperity for communities across the country.”

Sky’s five policy priorities for the Government

Sky is calling on the UK government to commit to five key policy priorities to “unleash the creative industry’s potential” including innovation, skills, incentives, space, and connectivity.

On the first point, Sky proposes all new regulation be subject to an “Innovation Impact Assessment” which would require the Government to explicitly consider the effect of new rules on any company’s ability to innovate.

Secondly, the Government should expand its Apprenticeship Levy to include freelancers that move flexibly between productions which would help with retraining and retention.

The Government should also regularly benchmark its AV tax framework against competing jurisdictions and broaden its research and development tax credits criteria to include creative endeavours.

There needs to be additional proactive support of studio infrastructure which would involve a streamlined planning process and rethink on the valuation Office Agency’s property tax rating for studios.

Finally, the Government should launch a national Internet Protocols (IP) roadmap before “a wholesale shift” to IP distribution. This would include provisions to “end digital exclusion” and allow all people to engage with online-only content.

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