Advanced Television

MPs to probe UK cinema sector

April 19, 2024

By Colin Mann

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK House of Commons is to hold an  Evidence Session looking at the challenges facing UK cinema.

The Committee is continuing its inquiry into British Film and High-End TV with a session focusing on the industry’s exhibition sector, where a film is screened for the public in the cinema.

The Committee notes that the pandemic dealt a huge below to the UK’s cinema sector, and box office figures for 2023 show that revenue is 30 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels. UK cinemas are in a precarious position, with challenges posed by changing audience behaviours, shorter theatrical release windows, rising costs and the need for investment in skills development.

In the first panel on April 23rd, MPs will question the Head of Cinema at Watershed, one of the UK’s leading independent cinemas, and the Director of Independent Cinema Office on the role of independent British cinemas in supporting independent films. The Committee could explore the cultural value and programming of these cinemas, how streaming has impacted them, and box office demand for independent films. Their financial sustainability and the BFI’s support for them, including through the Audience Projects Fund and the Film Audience Network, may also be discussed.

MPs will then question the CEO of Vue and the Managing Director of Picturehouse, two leading cinema chains, as well as the CEO of Studiocanal UK, a major distribution company, on the commercial side of the market. The Committee may seek to understand how the exhibition market has changed in recent years, the performance of local British films at the box office and the financial health of large cinema chains. Questions could also investigate views on proposals for tax relief for film distribution and how streaming has changed how films are exhibited.

Categories: Articles, Business, Content, Policy, Regulation, Rights

Tags: , ,