Ministers are attempting to future-proof the UK’s multibillion-dollar film and television production business with research in AI . This has begun with the investment of over £150 million in a nationwide network of research laboratories charged with creating the next generation of special effects utilising technology like AI.
The programme, which is a component of extensive efforts to boost the UK creative industry, intends to build on Britain’s reputation for producing high-tech bestsellers like Star Wars and Harry Potter. The government is increasing a fund intended to find and promote the upcoming generation of indigenous superstars like Adele and Ed Sheeran and has set aside millions to aid local music venues devastated by the Covid outbreak.
Industry will support an additional £63 million investment to spread the funding among hundreds of venues, new video game studios, fashion, film, and other creative ventures. They will also support four new research and development labs that focus on visual effects, motion-capture technology, and AI.
There will also be significant investment to nurture up-and-coming video games developers and backing to ensure the annual London fashion week and BFI film festival continue to thrive.
“Our creative industry isn’t just about the glitz and glam of the red carpet in Leicester Square,” said Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor. “It brings in £108bn a year to help fund our public services, supports over 2 million jobs, and is world renowned.
“We are backing it as an industry to drive our economic growth, keeping the UK at the top of the world’s cultural charts with a multimillion-pound boost.”
The government, which has set a target of growing the scale of the UK creative industries by £50bn and create 1 million extra jobs by 2030, revealed the preferred locations chosen after a bidding process for its network of four research labs to drive the next generation of screen technology and on-set virtual production.
The national hub is to be located at Pinewood Studios, home to James Bond and the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, although the government has only officially said it will be located in the studio’s home county of Buckinghamshire.
Businesses will use a total of £63 million in investments to build regional research laboratories in West Yorkshire, Dundee, and Belfast, and construct a national lab in Buckinghamshire. These investments are in addition to the government’s prior commitment of £75.6 million.
“The creative industries are a true British success story, from global music stars like Adele and Ed Sheeran to world-class cultural institutions like the BBC,” said Rishi Sunak.
“These industries have a special place in our national life and make a unique contribution to how we feel about ourselves as a country.”
Despite facing huge challenges during the Covid pandemic, the sector has grown at 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy over the past decade, contributing £108bn in gross value added (GVA) annually. Employment in the industries has grown at five times the rate of the economy since 2011.
The overall amount announced on Tuesday includes £50m to help startups and creative entrepreneurs around the country.