Regional TV Production Remains 'Too Low'

An modest rise in levels of TV production from NI and other regions has failed to allay criticism from the UK trade association that represents independent feature film and television companies.

Pact said this week that the level of television produced in Northern Ireland increased 18% in 2008 compared with 2007, according to their 3rd annual Production Trend Report just released.

The report showed that network production in Northern Ireland increased from a very low base of just 17.7 hours in 2007 to 19 hours in 2008, most (15 hours) of which was on BBC channels.

Channel Five did not commission any network programming from Northern Ireland in 2008 and Channel 4 commissioned just one hour.

The small increase comes after years of lobbying for change by Pact.

The first Pact Production Trend Report, which covered 2006, illustrated the need for intervention in television production outside London and was a catalyst for the BBC developing their 'Out of London' strategy, launched in 2008.

Regionally, the English regions saw the greatest drop, down 17% to 4569 hours, but this was partly due to two ITV1 productions, Glitterball and Make Your Play, coming to an end in 2007.
News Image
Scotland saw a 5% decrease to 284 hours, Wales was up 20% to 118 hours and Northern Ireland was up 17% to 19 hours.

Pact's Northern Ireland representative, Jannine Waddell said it was even more important that there is an increased focus on production outside London by the broadcasters, to deliver a more culturally diverse offering on UK television.

"Northern Ireland has a lower ratio of network hours to head of population than any other region in the UK, and that is hugely detrimental to all UK viewers," she said.

"While we welcome the BBC's valuable contribution, it should not be left entirely to them. We would like to see Channel 4 make a similar commitment in order to truly fulfil their PSB obligations," she continued.

Meanwhile, other key findings in the report include that of the 4,990 hours commissioned outside London in 2008, just 19 were commissioned from Northern Ireland.

It also found that London was the source of the majority of UK network television, producing 70% in 2008, or 11,844 hours (excluding news) across the five terrestrial channels and, overall, this was a decrease of 16% for the Nations and Regions, although overall spend was up 24% year on year.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 April 2014
Lower Parking Charge Scheme To Be Piloted
A lower parking rates scheme that was first introduced last Christmas in 25 towns across NI is to be reintroduced as part of a six-month pilot. A total of 93 car parks in 25 towns will charge £1 for five hours parking for six months from 12 April, with the scheme subject to ongoing assessment.
19 August 2010
Regional TV Production Levels Falling
Local TV production is failing viewers in one of the UK's regions with the amount of money spent on television programming specifically for Northern Ireland and the number of hours produced falling in the last year. BBC NI and UTV's combined spend on TV programmes in 2009 was £25m, down 11% from £28m in 2008 and down 41% over the last five years.
05 March 2010
HBO Fantasy Epic For Northern Ireland
Fantasy filmmaking is on the way to Belfast. Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Culture and Arts Minister, Nelson McCausland have confirmed, that the series, Game of Thrones will be filmed in Northern Ireland.
08 November 2004
Northern Irish language film sector outperforms Southern
Northern Ireland’s Irish language film production sector will continue to out perform its Southern counterpart's output unless a number of measures are implemented by the Irish Government, a producer’s union in the Republic of Ireland has claimed.
19 February 2015
DEL Will Not Ban Zero Hours Contracts
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has said his department will not seek to ban zero hours contracts in Northern Ireland. The contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work.