Independents and cultural organisations can adapt and thrive in a changing landscape
For screen enterprises to deliver public benefit, they need to be financially sustainable and adapt in a changing economic and cultural landscape. Independent development and production companies, distributors and exhibitors, as well as cultural and heritage organisations, play a critical role in the screen ecosystem, complementing the work of the commercial sector. They connect the UK public with the widest possible range of screen culture, provide opportunities to work in the sector, and cultivate the next generation of creative talent. These organisations can only deliver this benefit to the public if they remain viable.
Recent years have seen radical change in the screen sectors. The rise of streamers has majorly impacted distribution and financing models for everything from film and TV to video games. Audience behaviours have continued to change, with increasing competition for their attention. The UK is also adapting to working in the international market as a nation newly independent of the European Union. And this process of change is only set to continue.
Independents and cultural organisations often do not have access to the same resources, networks or data as commercial companies to navigate this ever-changing landscape and make informed business decisions. National Lottery funding can help redress this, and ensure that they can continue to deliver value to the public. We will use it to complement our policy and advocacy work in this area. More information on this is available in our Corporate Strategy (Screen Culture 2033).
The BFI will need work with a range of people and organisations to deliver this objective. This includes (but is not limited to) those working as producers, directors and writers; video games developers and publishers; schools, education and training providers; talent development organisations; festivals, distributors and exhibitors; archives and other heritage organisations; those working in programming; local government; national and regional screen agencies; strategic funded partners and trade bodies. As with every area of work, we will look to deliver for people right across the UK of all ages, religions or beliefs, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, working class backgrounds, as well as disabled people, those with a longstanding physical or mental condition and those identifying as D/deaf or neurodiverse.
4.1 Better support available for small and medium-sized enterprises and independents to develop their businesses
Support around business development can help to ensure the richest choice of screen culture going forward. It can also support job creation, screen sector development and investment in locations across the UK. National Lottery funding can help organisations to develop critical business and leadership skills and secure commercial investment. It can also help them access local and national networks and provide essential shared infrastructure (such as production services) in locations across the UK.
Organisations need different kinds of support at different stages in their life cycle. Organisations in different parts of the UK also have access to differing business support offers, made available via devolved and local government and other providers. We will look at how National Lottery funding may help provide a range of support to different organisations, and how this complements other available services.
4.2 An increase in the international engagement and reach of the UK screen sector
The UK screen sector is a world leader within a highly competitive and changing global industry. International collaboration and exchange plays a key role in delivering world-class storytelling. It help creators meet new people to collaborate and experiment with. Working with these partners can help independent UK work reach new audiences around the world and create new revenue streams. It can also help UK audiences the richest range of storytelling from around the world. This might be online, at home or in cinemas and other venues.
National Lottery funding can help UK screen enterprises develop international networks and foster cultural and commercial exchange. This includes at festivals and markets. In this way, funding can support cultural diversity at home and abroad. In the first instance, we will consider how National Lottery funding can complement the work of the UK Global Screen Fund, which is delivered through UK government grant-in-aid.
4.3 Evidence-based insight and analysis of the screen sector is readily available to all, supporting organisations and driving policymaking
National Lottery funding can help provide policymakers and screen enterprises with evidence-based insight on a range of key issues. This might be the nature of the screen sector, the value of screen culture, or the changing behaviour of audiences. Such insights can help them to make the best possible decisions on how to support a thriving UK moving image culture going forward. This includes in policymaking, public and private investment and programming. Better informed decisions in all these fields will help deliver benefit to the public, from audiences to those who want to work in the sector.
4.4 Screen organisations have significantly reduced their carbon footprint
Organisations can only deliver real public benefit in the long term if their work does not come at the cost of damage to our environment. Projects and organisations can be supported to develop more environmentally sustainable practices and move toward net zero carbon emissions.
Organisations working at different scales and in different areas of the sector – from production, to distribution and exhibition, to skills or heritage work – require different infrastructure and resources in order to develop more sustainable practices. The availability of this support varies in different parts of the UK.
National Lottery funding can help the sector to become more environmentally sustainable. It can support research and development into sustainable practices, help to share learnings and best practice, and support organisations to amend their practices. Importantly, National Lottery funding can help make sure that any move to make the sector more environmentally sustainable does not come at the expense of inclusivity, making changes that disproportionately impact people with different access needs. We will support environmental sustainability through our policy and advocacy work too. More on this is set out in our Corporate Strategy (Screen Culture 2033).