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Baseline study of regional investment in independent media production


The research aimed to benchmark Glasgow’s broadcast production centre against other UK centres. It sought to identify: the size and growth of the production sector in a number of key production centres in the UK; the types of business support interventions or funding available in these production centres; the impact this funding has had on the local production centres; whether these centres are adopting a strategic approach to intervention in the sector; where the regional funding pots are coming from; and sector investment available to digital media companies in Scotland/Glasgow.


The consultants reviewed existing data on the digital media sector both nationally and in each production centre, and conducted interviews with a range of commissioners, support service providers, funders and independent production companies.


Findings are presented for each of the centres studied: Bristol and the South West; Manchester and the North West; Cardiff and Wales; Birmingham and the West Midlands; Glasgow and Scotland; Greater London; Newcastle and the North East; and Belfast and Northern Ireland. The research suggests that the situation is not radically different in any of the other nations and regions compared to Scotland. In line with all the regional broadcast centres, a lack of critical mass in the Scottish industry is apparent and Glasgow’s distance from London generally makes the relationship between production companies and commissioners more difficult to manage. The research found a number of themes that are common to the more successful regional centres, including: a close and almost seamless working relationship between the main regional development agencies and the regional screen agencies; a clear message from the economic development agency that the digital sector is valued as a primary driver of the regional or national economy; a partnership approach between the key support agencies and their key indigenous and inward investing businesses that builds loyalty and helps to tie them to the location even when times are harder; specialist business support; a recognition of the need to provide an affordable and suitable ladder of accommodation that is aligned to the growth cycle for growing digital business; and the close involvement of respected industry figures in driving business support delivery. The report suggests that the fundamental issue that ranks above all other things in the digital media industry is the importance of having multiple drivers (i.e. buyers) of content production.


The report suggests that Scotland needs to put significant effort and investment into building expertise and seizing the leading position for innovation in the digital media sector. It recommends that one way to make more of Scotland’s successes may be to talk about Digital Scotland as opposed to focusing on broadcast in Glasgow, games in Dundee and advertising and new media in Edinburgh. It calls for the promotion of creativity and the knowledge economy through schools, higher and further education and the business community in order to stimulate commercial research and development (R&D), increase intern-style training opportunities, and increase production and employment opportunities through partnership arrangements with organisations that can stimulate the production of digital content.

Author NMP Ltd
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support