Home » Amazon UK Boss Reveals $400M Broadcaster Spend For The First Time: “British Content Travels The Best Around The World”

Amazon UK Boss Reveals $400M Broadcaster Spend For The First Time: “British Content Travels The Best Around The World”

Amazon UK Boss Reveals 0M Broadcaster Spend For The First Time: “British Content Travels The Best Around The World”

Amazon UK MD Chris Bird was among the latest group of industry execs to appear in front of the UK’s British Film & High-End TV Inquiry this afternoon, during which he revealed how much cash the streamer has invested in content from UK broadcasters for the first time.

“We have spent more than $400 million licensing, co-producing, and co-commissioning content from the UK Public Service Broadcasters,” Bird said. “Not only to make bigger and better shows but we’ve also helped produce everything from Steve McQueen’s Small Axe and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag to the recently announced second and third seasons of The Night Manager with the BBC.” 

Deadline was first to break news of The Night Manager returning with Tom Hiddleston signed on to star.

Prime Video doesn’t only help produce these hits but also distributes them to territories across the globe, Bird added. “Outside of America, British content travels the best around the world,” he said. 

An Amazon spokeswoman later told Deadline that the $400M figure has been spent since 2016. Amazon didn’t say how much the streamer has invested overall in the nation including on UK originals but in 2022 it said it had spent around $1B across four years on TV, movies and live sports.

Bird was joined on the panel in front of the UK’s Culture, Media & Sport Committee by Mitchell Simmons, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs EMEA at Paramount, Benjamin King, Senior Director of Public Policy at Netflix, and Gidon Freeman, SVP of Government and Regulatory Affairs at NBCUniversal International. 

Indie movie tax credit

The group discussed a range of topics pertaining to the production and development of film and series production in the UK, including the UK’s new 40% indie film tax credit and how each of their companies have played a part in supporting local talent.

“Paramount has historically invested a lot in low-budget British films around the sub-£5 million mark. Then it had a hiatus for a number of years but in 2019 started to increase investment and try to find projects,” Simmons said. 

Simmons said the presence of a studio like Paramount in the UK helps to create what he described as a “pipeline” for British talent to thrive.

“Just to give you an example,” he said, “in 2019, Rapman was an upcoming director on YouTube and created the short Blue Story. He then received development funding for a feature script from BBC. And then he sought funding. Paramount funds that feature and then it absolutely smashes the Box Office, hitting £4 million total in the UK. As a result, the film gets a theatrical release in the U.S. and South Africa. And a few years later, Rapman now has a big-budget show at Netflix.” 

Thanks to the introduction of the UK government’s indie film tax credit, Simmons said he expects to see an “increase in the number of projects and the amount of spend on those projects” from Paramount towards smaller budget UK films. 

His comments came a few months after Paramount+ culled a wealth of UK TV originals amid a Hollywood pivot under Bob Bakish.

The inquiry has also heard from the likes of Bend it Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha, Slow Horses director James Hawes and UK exhibition bosses.