British media and entertainment sector could be worth £53 billion by 2033

Wednesday 20 September 2023
  • The sector could potentially bring an additional £10 billion a year to the UK economy in 10 years, rising from £43 billion in 2021
  • Sky is calling on the UK government to implement five key policy priorities for further success in the creative industries
  • In 2022, Sky supported a £20 billion contribution to UK GDP

A new report from Sky, in partnership with Public First and Oxford Economics, reveals that the UK’s media and entertainment sector could be worth £53 billion to the UK economy in 2033 if growth continues at its current trajectory, and with the support of the UK Government [1].

Sky plays a major role in the UK’s cultural economy and, in 2022 alone, supported a contribution of £20 billion to UK GDP, broadcast 70,000 hours of elite sports coverage and invested over £130 million to provide news to consumers free of charge [2].

Dana Strong, Group CEO, 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. As a result, the media and entertainment sector could be worth an impressive additional £10 billion a year to the UK economy by 2033.

“There’s so much more to do, and Sky is determined to be an engine for that growth – powering creativity in the UK and across the world."

Sky calls on the UK Government to unleash the creative industry’s potential

The research demonstrates the important role that original British content is already playing in the success of the UK creative industries, and how investment in better content, better tools, and better customer journeys, would further boost its value.

Sky’s research shows the sector could be worth an additional £10 billion to the UK by 2033 and could contribute an additional 40,000 jobs. In light of the findings, Sky is calling on government to take a more prominent role in the growth and development of the media and entertainment industry.

Sky is setting out five key policy priorities for success in the creative industries:

  • Innovation: Sky proposes that all new regulation is subject to an Innovation Impact Assessment, requiring Government departments to explicitly consider the effect of new rules on companies’ ability to innovate.
  • Skills: Government should expand the scope of the Apprenticeship Levy so that it covers freelancers that move flexibly between productions and allowing funds to be used for broader retraining and retention.
  • Incentives: Government should maintain a world-leading AV tax framework by committing to a regular benchmarking exercise assessing UK incentives against competing jurisdictions, as well as broadening R&D tax credits eligibility to include creative endeavours.
  • Space: Government needs to proactively support production studio infrastructure by streamlining planning processes and rethinking the Valuation Office Agency’s property tax rating for studios.
  • Connectivity: Government should launch a national Internet Protocols (IP) roadmap in anticipation of a wholesale shift to IP distribution, including a coordinated effort to end digital exclusion to allow people to engage with online-only content.

Sky’s contribution

Sky’s new state-of-the-art film and TV studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is projected to attract £3 billion of new production investment to the UK in its first five years and create up to 2,000 jobs.

There is significant demand for British content

New research by Public First, highlighted that one in two UK adults are more likely to watch a TV show if it is set in the UK, with over two fifths (45%) saying they particularly enjoy the British sense of humour and three in 10 (30%) saying they like seeing British landmarks they recognise [3].

The report also uncovered the potential for export revenue, with international demand for British content set to grow by 50% by 2033, as the UK continues to command a disproportionate share of the international market. The value of direct exports is also expected to deliver a boost of £2 billion for UK tourism, as overseas fans travel to see iconic locations from their favourite shows [4].

Rachel Wolf, Founding Partner, Public First said: “The UK has always been famous for great film and TV shows, which are immensely popular exports all around the world. Those shows aren’t just fun to watch - they deliver jobs and growth for the UK economy. Our research identifies that if the policy environment is right, the British media industry could grow to £53 billion, the equivalent of 40,000 jobs - bringing pleasure to millions and delivering economic prosperity in the process.”

Adrian Cooper, CEO, Oxford Economics, said: “Our research demonstrates the significant contribution that Sky makes to the UK economy and public finances. In 2022, we estimate that it supported a £20 billion contribution to UK GDP, and £5.4 billion in tax revenues for the UK exchequer, with this impact felt across the nations and the regions of the UK.”

To see full report, please visit:


Notes to editors

[1] Modelling conducted by Public First on behalf of Sky

[2] Modelling conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of Sky

[3] Consumer research conducted by Public First on behalf of Sky between 15th – 21st August 2023, 2,005 UK consumers

[4] Modelling conducted by Public First on behalf of Sky

[5] Full research methodology is available in Sky’s Economic Impact Report