Brexit – the creative industries vote ‘remain’

The TunnelThe majority of people working in the UK’s media and creative sector oppose Brexit and believe leaving the European Union will damage the global role of Britain’s film, TV and advertising sectors.

Ahead of the referendum on 23 June, Media Business Insight (MBI), the parent company of The Knowledge, has canvassed views from the creative industries about the potential impact of Brexit on the sector, with the majority of respondents saying they believe leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the UK’s creative economy.

The survey looked at the opinions of over 800 industry representatives (686 of whom were based in the UK), working in the fields of film, TV, advertising, marketing, media and production services.

The majority of the participants - 67% - indicated they thought it better for the creative industries as a whole if Britain remained part of the EU. A total of 63% also said they felt leaving would have a negative impact on their business, with the same figure believing the economy and trading would be impacted on the most. 

Respondents feared Brexit could hit the international sales of UK films and TV shows along with production of international movies and dramas being made in the UK.

Specifically under the media and production services respondents – those providing locations, equipment and post production services to TV shows and films being made in the UK – the figure was even more definitive, with 75% believing the creative sector would benefit from a ‘remain’ vote. Seventy-one percent of this group felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their trade.

However 22% of respondents took a different view and argued that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on the media sector – with 11% uncertain of the impact.

David Barron, producer of the Harry Potter films and the recently completed feature film The Legend of Tarzan, said: “I have no idea if or how it would affect the co-production treaties. Essentially most of our industry at the moment is supported by US finance so if we voted out, the impact may not be as significant as we might think.”

The Legend of Tarzan

Double Oscar-winner Mark Coulier, who runs Coulier Creatures FX Ltd and has won Academy Awards for his work on The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Iron Lady said he was in favour of remaining in the EU.

“As part of the European Union we are free to work and travel without visas and as things often happen last minute, as our on-set numbers fluctuate, we can call our international colleagues at a day or two’s notice and they can be here, free to work.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel

He cited an example from working on Zoolander 2 last year in which the company was able to both manufacture as well as travel across Europe to attend to props and make-up on set, without the need for work permits and visas. 

Among the reasons provided by participants to remain are concerns about the difficulty of making TV shows and films in mainland Europe, the impact on British creatives working abroad, the effect on the economy and the impact on selling British TV programmes and movies internationally. 

Conor Dignam, CEO of MBI, which also owns media brands KFTV, shots, Screen International, Broadcast, Brad and Alf, said: “The survey results clearly show the anxiety many in the media and creative sector have about the potential risks around Brexit. British film and TV is now part of a global business and there’s obvious concern about creating new barriers to creative and media companies and talent that needs to compete on an international basis. 

“The verdict of the creative sector is firmly against Brexit based on our survey.” 


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