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The UK is the world’s busiest film and TV production hub and last year alone saw spending on high-end TV and movie production reach £3.6 billion1 and the release of globally acclaimed films from Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King toDownton Abbey and The Favourite. Legal & General is backing this great British success story by working with partners to develop the country’s latest state-of-the-art film and TV studio.
Work will begin this month to clear the site ahead of construction of the new Sky Studios Elstree after Hertsmere Borough Council gave the scheme the green light. Once completed the studio is expected to create 2,000 jobs and attract a production spend of £3 billion in its first five years, providing an important economic boost as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.
The development represents a significant investment in the UK and European creative economy and will be made with the backing of Sky’s owner Comcast and in partnership with sister company NBCUniversal, while Legal & General will finance and develop the scheme. Construction will commence under strict safety and social distancing guidelines and will contribute £230 million to UK GDP in 2020-2021.
Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, says: “This is a critical investment for the UK’s bounce back. Landmark construction projects are rocket fuel for the economy and investing in our creative industries has never been more important. As a global leader, Sky attracts and retains the best talent, continuing to bolster the UK’s entertainment sector whilst driving job creation and economic growth. At Legal & General, we back our pension promises by using society’s capital for society’s benefit. This is a perfect match for our Inclusive Capitalism strategy.”
Sky Studios develops, produces and funds original drama, comedy and documentaries and aims to more than double investment in original content by 2024 in order to build on the success of Sky Originals like Emmy-winning Chernobyl and Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose. NBCUniversal owns and operates news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant TV production operations, a leading television stations group and leading theme parks and internet-based businesses.
Caroline Cooper, Chief Financial Officer, Sky Studios, says: “Even during challenging economic times, Sky Studios Elstree represents Sky’s continued commitment to the UK’s creative industry, as well as our goal to recruit, train and develop the leading creative talent of tomorrow. Alongside our colleagues at NBCUniversal and our partners at Legal & General, we will create a world-leading production studio that will turbocharge Sky Studios’ plans to create even more award-winning Sky Originals for our customers.”
Sky Studios Elstree will become home to the best-loved films and TV shows of the future, championing British creativity on the global stage. It will also bring investment, jobs and opportunities to people across Hertsmere.
The final design for Sky Studios Elstree includes 12 flexible sound stages that can merge together and subdivide to provide flexibility and scalability to accommodate productions of all sizes. This means that the biggest sound stages can now cover 60,000sq ft, or reduce to smaller, segregated studios, providing Sky Studios and NBCUniversal with a Covid-19 ready set up for the future. Production facilities and digital suites will also be designed to facilitate remote working.
Sky Studios Elstree will become home to a host of Sky Originals, created by Sky Studios, as well as major film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and television series from NBCUniversal Content Studios. It will also have capacity to host productions from third party producers.
While the studio will create 2,000 new jobs in areas like production and studio operations, thousands more jobs will be supported in the national supply chain. It will also help to fuel the economy across Hertsmere.
Sky Studios is also committed to supporting the next generation of young and diverse creative talent and will use Sky Studios Elstree to build on its existing work in this area. This includes Sky Academy Skills Studio and Mama Youth, a project that equips young people, aged between 18-25 years of age from under-represented groups, with the necessary skills to work in the TV industry.
In 2006, Sky became the first carbon-neutral media company in the world and Sky Studios Elstree will become a cornerstone of the company’s ambition to become Net Zero Carbon within a decade. It will be the most sustainable film and TV production site in the world when it opens in 2022, with the capability to produce 20% of its own power on site through solar energy, while no fossil fuels will be used to power day-to-day operations. In addition, no single-use plastics will be allowed in Sky operations.
Culture Secretary and MP for Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden, says: “The film and TV industry plays a vital role in the UK’s economy, with its programming keeping us informed, entertained and connected over the past few months. Sky Studios Elstree will become home to the best-loved films and TV shows of the future, championing British creativity on the global stage. It will also bring investment, jobs and opportunities to people across Hertsmere – cementing Elstree & Borehamwood’s reputation as ‘The British Hollywood’.”