This critical review will explore the British Film Industry as subjected by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in their report published in 2012. The views, presented in the report, are contrasted with the contents of the Guardian’s (2009) article . The paper critically evaluates the economic and social contribution of the film industry together with an overview of its performance presently to assess the present as well as the prospective future position of the industry and how it can support the country’s both social and economical development.
According to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (2012), the British film industry is one of the largest country’s industries contributing to the financial as well as social state of the country. It is one of the oldest film industries in the world which owns a rich heritage of movies dating back to 1940s. It employs close to 33,500 people with over 95,000 jobs available. The industry works in close connection with the tourism and trade industries and the sale of the related merchandise greatly affects the business of companies in other related sectors. People involved in the industry include writers, singers, actors, production staff, together with tourist services providers, and other related professionals. British film industry also plays a significant role in the export industry (Department of Culture, Media and Sport 2012). The film industry shares strong bonds not only with the country’s economy, but with the culture of the country either, representing it in the form of films to foreigners and also creating new subcultures with the influence of social changes inflicted by way of the films shot annually.
Guardian (2009) sees this as a deteriorating industry that presents very low contribution to the country’s economy presently. It does shed light on the economic contributions the industry is capable of producing based on what it has done in the past.
The British film industry is one of the most important and significant industries of the county that contribute towards the country’s economic growth. Four most important economic contributions of the industry are employment, revenue streams from exporters, revenue streams from the private sector in the form of selling products associated with the film releases, and revenues from the tourism industry. In the past years, the industry has been home to a diverse, yet highly skilled, workforce with 59 per cent production workers of whom 23 per cent possess a graduate level qualification with specializations in the different areas of the film industry.
On the other hand, every year British films attract £1.8 billion of tourism revenues that contribute significantly towards the country’s economic strength. The industry’s performance is also strongly beneficial for the export industry where the films play their due role in boosting export revenues with an average of £4.3 billion annually. Taking these figures into account, the performance of the film industry, according to the analysts, produces a multiplier effect on other related industries, such as the export and the tourism industries. However, this relationship also works in an adverse fashion when the industry underperforms, as the state of affairs appears to be now. Nowadays the industry is not faring well, following the post recession period which is the result of the credit crunch. The credit crunch hit the film industry badly in the recent times. DVD and homegrown movies have fallen in retail sales. According to the report by Guardian (2009), the producers are challenged in terms of funding the films’ production; the previous films have resulted in smaller revenue streams. This has raised questions of quality to be expected from the forthcoming films, given limited investment in creativity. Another area of concern is how this could adversely impact the revenues of the related industries that are closely tied with the country’s economic condition, taking the multiplier effect of the industry’s performance into consideration.
Apart from the economic impacts of the British film industry’s performance, the industry enjoys a close connection and relationship with the country’s culture. The culture of the country benefits or is affected with the social and educational components present in British films. The films are a way of expressing cultural and social identities with the use of symbolism and narration in the works. The films represent and reflect not only the cultural identities but also the social challenges the country currently faces. Thus, the films act as a healthy social medium of interaction and communication of the social values and challenges prevalent in the country. When presented in the mass media in the form of informative movies, the films allow the society to be aware of the underlying challenges in the society and how these could be properly addressed to and resolved. On the other hand, films represent the country’s culture to tourists and foreigners and are an effective medium of communicating the country’s cultural identities to outsiders (Oxford Economics, 2009).
Films have been appreciated but also severely criticized for encouraging social changes. The society and the government encourage healthy social changes, but these institutions are not in favor of the bad influences on the society brought about by the films in the recent past, such as the drug abuse and drinking culture amongst the teenagers, for example.
British film industry also plays a significant role in regard to the export industry allowing the UK to benefit its exporters by branding the country’s image employing annual movie launches. The film industry shares strong bonds not only with economy, but with the culture of the country as well, representing it in the form of films to foreigners and also creating new subcultures with the influence of social changes.