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For BFI Media Certification, 2023 was a great year

No signs of a slow up in the media sector

13 Feb 2024

By Ian Gibbon

British films, high end television programmes, animation television programmes and children’s television programmes are all eligible to receive tax credits from HMRC. These credits range from 25.5% for Films and High End Television to a very attractive 39% rate for Childrens and Animation television programmes.

The first stage in obtaining these generous allowances is to apply to the British Film Institute for Certification that the film is eligible due to all, or part, of its ‘Budget being spent in the UK together with criteria based on its British nature’.

I guess that this is de facto knowledge to all producers, although we have come across producers who weren’t aware of these credits and have lost out. Yes, really.

A recent trend has been the proliferation of short films and when you look at the statistics published by the BFI Research and Statistics Unit this is reflected in the overall reporting for certification. The overall median budget for a final certification in 2023 was £0.09m. This is the lowest amount since 2014; the reason for this low number being that short films accounted for 41% of final certificates. And going back to the earlier comment about producers missing out on the tax credit, we at Alliotts come across a lot of shorts that miss the tax credit boat. Rather than a first-time director or producer talking about what they may do on their first feature to a Financier, why not show them what they have done by way of a Short? As a footnote Alliotts alongside Triple Exposure are sponsoring a BFI Short Films event on 18th April.

The overall certification numbers for 2023 corroborate the enormous impact that media as a sector now has in the UK. 456 Films received final certification in 2023 that had a UK spend of £2bn. There were 224 final certifications for High End Television where a UK spend amounted to a total £4.5bn. Final Certifications for children’s and animation television were lower at 62 and 85 respectively. However, with the new enhanced credits, we’re sure to see an increase in these numbers.

Some productions choose to apply only for a final certificate at the end of the production. However, it is possible to claim an interim certificate during the production which will enable the production to support the financing of their film. The statistics for 2023 show that the amounts handed out on interim certificates was at an all time high; this trend will no doubt continue.

These 2023 statistics are after the effects of the actors and writers strikes last year and so the high volume of projects that got over the line is quite staggering.

No signs of a slow up in the media sector.

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