In The Frame December '21
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In The Frame December '21

This month's latest news across the industry.


Netflix ends the year as the No.1 US streaming service, based on estimated numbers of subscribers. Amazon’s Prime Video was second, with Disney+ third.

Traditional US pay TV’s subscriber base now represents less than 70% of households in the country, down from 78% in 2019. Another report has found that 87% of US households now take an internet service, compared with 83% in 2016 and 69% in 2006.

DAZN will cease offering the dual user option that allows simultaneous viewing of content by two users on different devices with the same account. The company has found the feature is being misused by some users who are putting one of their subscriptions up for sale.

Millions of people in the UK working from home, combined with an increase in online sports broadcasts, have driven a 20% increase in broadband traffic during 2021, according to Openreach, the country’s largest broadband network provider.

Full-fibre broadband is now available to more than eight million UK homes, and about half of the properties in the UK are now in an area with outdoor 5G coverage, according to Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations reports.

BBC News

The BBC iPlayer is on track to break six billion streams in a year for the first time, with 5.9 billion up to the end of November – 586 million more than the same time last year. Line Of Duty’s return is the most popular episode of the year at the time of writing: the first episode of the sixth series was streamed 9.2 million times. The boxset has been streamed 137 million times. Other popular boxsets this year have been Pretty Little Liars, Waterloo Road, Doctor Who, and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

On-demand listening via BBC Sounds was also up. Between January and November this year, radio programmes, music and podcasts were played 1.3 billion times, an increase of 8% over a similar period in 2020. BBC Sounds has now launched in the Sonos app.

The BBC, along with ITV (and ITN), Channel 4 and Channel 5/Viacom CBS UK, has committed to avoid using the collective term B.A.M.E..

The BBC won the battle for Christmas Day viewers. The Strictly Come Dancing special was the most watched TV show on Christmas Day, apart from the Queen’s festive message. Eight of the top 10 most popular programmes that day were on the BBC One, including the top seven.

Studio News

The development of major UK studio facilities shows no sign of slowing as we head into the new year.

Having entered into a long-term agreement with Disney in September 2019, Pinewood has won planning permission to create a visitor attraction, new sound stages, a skills and training hub and a business growth hub. The expansion is expected to lead to investment worth £500 million, provide a “boost to the UK economy” and create more than 3,500 jobs.

Disney will become the first client at Shinfield Studios in Berkshire. Planning permission has been granted for the facility, which will accommodate 18 sound stages and will be, when it opens fully in 2024, one of the largest film and TV studios in the UK. Shinfield is expected to generate total inward investment to the UK economy of about £600 million per year.

Troubadour Theatres, a supplier to Netflix, the BBC and MTV, has announced a deal to build a new film and TV studio in north London. Troubadour Brent Cross Studios will open in early 2022, creating hundreds of training and employment opportunities.

RD Studios is to open in April 2022 in Park Royal, in west London. The £20 million facility will feature five sound stages and 45,000 square-foot of space. It is part of a plan to part of Dean’s plan to create 250,000 sq ft of independent studio space in the UK over the next five years.

Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall will house a new £11.9 million TV studio to be operated by BBC Studioworks, a commercial arm of the corporation. Due to open next autumn, the studio is intended to become the Scottish hub for shows for the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Netflix. The 10,500 sq. ft studio is co-funded by the Scottish government through Screen Scotland (£7.9 million) and Glasgow City Council (£4 million).

And finally...

  • The BFI has published its Screen Business report. Covering the period 2017 to 2019, the report finds that record levels of production in the UK have contributed £13.48 billion to the UK economy and created 219,000 jobs. It also reports the highest ever return on investment to the economy from screen sector tax reliefs. Every £1 of film tax relief generated £8.30 of value, and each £1 of high-end TV relief returned £6.44. UK Screen Alliance has called on the government to remove the 80% cap on the various tax credits available to incentivise investment.
  • The BFI’s Statistical Yearbook, published throughout the second half of each year and concluding with the full yearbook, is here.
  • Channel 5 has joined Digital UK Ltd, alongside the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Digital UK merged with Freesat (UK) earlier this year with the aim of ensuring UK viewers continue to have access to a range of free-to-view TV services and benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two platforms.
  • Channel 4 has published a series of guidelines to help producers and production companies improve how they work with disabled people.
  • 2021 has been a good year for ITV’s streaming service, The Hub. The number of users grew by 20%, and at the time of writing service has achieved 1.5 billion streams, up 26% year on year.
  • Nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes have been announced. The winners will be announced on 9 January.

Thank you for reading this year’s final edition of In The Frame… . All of us at Frame 25 wish you a happy and prosperous 2022.

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