International News from World: Media giant Sky is building huge new movie studios outside London near the current Elstree production site, creating 2,000 jobs. Sky, other Comcast-owned companies along with NBC Universal, will use the 32-acre property and be open to third parties.
In the next five years, Sky estimated that up to £ 3bn would be invested in new development at the plant. In recent years, the film and television sector in the UK has performed strongly.
Hit shows have been shot using UK facilities such as The Crown and Games of Thrones as the fight between Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services has escalated.
Sky spends £ 7bn a year on European advertising, including soccer rights, and plans to double the amount it spends on producing its own material by 2024 to £ 1bn per year.
Gary Davey, Chief Executive of Sky Studios, said it was difficult to keep up with the growing demand for high-quality content, given that bringing a project to the screen typically takes three years.
Mr Davey said recent successes, such as Sky-HBO joint production, Chernobyl, and HBO smash-hit Game of Thrones, had a high proportion of European stars, which proved that US viewers were ready to embrace international productions.
Choosing to build the new Elstree studios meant that a pool of UK production talent would already be open, he said.
The UK now boasts a world-leading film industry with strong tax relief funding, including for television and animation. UK movies have grossed $9.4bn (£ 7.2bn) in 2018, a 23 percent share of the global box office, according to the British Film Institute (BFI).
Elstree has a long history of making movies. The current studios dating back to 1925 in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, were used by George Lucas as he shot the original trilogy of Star Wars.
The new Sky studies will be located nearby on land owned by Legal and General, funding the construction and renting the studios back to Sky.
The studios will have 14 sound stages, which will cost hundreds of millions of pounds to build. Nigel Wilson, Legal and General Chief Executive, said the plans were “another development in British industry modernization.”
Legal and General have made £ 20bn in investment in similar projects over the last five years.