Vitamin Advisers speaks on expansion of UK film studios
Above: Michael Davis of Vitamin Advisers
Future Cities Forum has invited Michael Davis, founder of Vitamin Advisers – a specialist advisory firm offering tailored advice to owners, investors and occupiers in emerging real estate asset classes such film studios, vertical farming, and across mixed-use developments - to its 'Creative Cities' March event at the BFI Stephen Street.
He has over 20 years’ experience in the property sector and most recently founded and led the film studio business across EMEA at JLL. He has co-authored a leading piece of research with the British Film Commission regarding investment in the studio sector. He is also a Trustee of the Creative Land Trust and has been involved in a number of other cultural projects.
Michael contributed to a recent real estate report on investment in film studios while he was working for JLL. It stated:
'A new report; Reel Estate – Film and TV Studios as an Investment has found that an increased appetite for film and TV content across a growing number of platforms is creating demand for further significant studio capacity in the UK.
The report from JLL, which includes contributions from the British Film Commission, Hoare Lea and Scott Brownrigg, highlights that the demand for new studio capacity, services and facilities has never been greater, with up to 4.5 million square feet of new development under consideration in order to meet it. This is more than double the current amount of permanent stage space in the UK.
The drivers for this increase in demand are a result of the impressive growth trajectory for the UK film and TV industries. Inward Investment film production spend in the UK increased by 30.6% over the five years to financial year 2019/20; with inward investment High-End TV spend increasing by 265.5% in the same time-frame. Most significantly, the sector has the potential to reach £6bn by 2024/25. The report cited that one of the key challenges to ensuring the UK can fully harness this untapped potential is the need to develop additional studio and stage space capacity across the UK.
Adrian Wootton OBE, CEO of the British Film Commission said: “I believe our industry has the potential to lead, develop, and sustain growth clusters around the UK, driving new revenues across the nations and regions by building sustainable infrastructure and creating highly skilled jobs with long-term careers for literally thousands of people. It’s an incredibly exciting moment, and one we at the British Film Commission are focused on maximising, to ensure studio and stage space capacity in the UK continues to expand, driving the growth and success of the screen.”
The report highlighted the significant increase in levels of investment planned in the UK, with the major move coming from content producers now prepared to commit to longer term leases on studio space, such as Netflix at Shepperton and Disney at Pinewood. It also pointed to further studio developments that are in the pipeline, including Sky Studios Elstree, Dagenham’s ‘Eastbrook’ Studios (London) and Bray Studios in Windsor with expansions of existing complexes planned throughout the UK’s nations and regions, including The Bottle Yard Studios (Bristol), Space Studios Manchester, Seren Studios (Wales), Belfast Harbour Studios and others.
Across the UK there is approximately 3.4m sq ft of permanent stage space and somewhere in the region of 1.8-2m sq ft of temporary stage space in play. Looking ahead, there currently is 920,000 square feet of further permanent stage space committed to be built by 2024, and a potential further development pipeline of 3.6 million square feet under consideration.
Michael Davis concluded: “Film and TV studios are becoming much more recognised as an alternative real estate asset, which can be valued as operational or leased properties depending on the licence or lease structures in place. With increased investment in the sector as a whole, the interest in value of the underlying real estate has become much more high profile. It is great to see studios looking at the bigger picture and being facilitators of change and regeneration around the UK.”'