February 27, 2024

The Spain Film Commission is partnering with Olsberg•SPI to draw up a first ever in-depth study on the economic impact of international shoots in Spain.

Profilm, Spain’s association of line producers, will also participate in the venture, its members supplying data for the report. “We have an agreement and vocation for collaboration,“ said SFC president Carlos Rosado.    

The report will focus on “those international productions that receive or apply for tax incentives in Spain,” added José Manuel Guimeráns, SFC secretary general. It is expected to be concluded by March 2024. 

Announced Tuesday at a packed press room at the Kursaal, the San Sebastian Festival center, the report responds to multiple needs. 

In March 2021, Rosado recalled, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez announced a hugely ambitious Spain AVS Hub plan, designed to plow €1.6 billion (€1.8 billion) into the country’s audiovisual sector. Much of that, €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), has been spent by early this year on credit and fiscal facilities. The SFC has received an endowment under the Spain AVS Hub program. 

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Spain already saw a muscular rise in tax breaks for international shoots. The really killer hike, however, came last December, with new record tax advantages, which raised relief for international productions to up to €20 million ($21.2 million) per movie and – even more transcendent – $10.6 million for any single series episode.

The Spain AVS Hub is now over two years old. At the presentation, a table displayed by Fernando Victoria de Lecea, president of Profilm, grouping 18 of its top line producers, showed spend from international shoots in Spain. With Spain blessed by stunning locations, both heritage sites and landscapes, this lay at €133.6 million ($141.6 million) in 2016. It plunging in 2020, naturally, to €36.2 million ($38.4 million) before powering up with industry rebound in 2021 to €263.7 million ($279.5 million) then, notably, increased again last year to an all-time record of €288.2 million ($305.5 million). 

Welfare payments rose 25.7% from €18.1 million in 2021 to €24.3 million in 2022. The main item in spend is the contracting of cast and extras (26.9%). Travel accounts for 8.2% of spend, camera and other electrical equipment hire 7.8% and studio rentals 8.4%.

These figures are guidance, not a full study of economic impact.      

It is time to render accounts, Rosado said in San Sebastian. “There’s a general consensus that Spain is improving significantly its position in comparison to other countries as a destination for international shoots,” he added. But the absence of extensive in-depth hard data prevents public bodies in Spain from adopting “an ambitious package of measures concerning the weight which shoots in Spain really have in relation to audiovisual policies around the world,” Rosado added.

Production investment in Spain is currently centred in Madrid (28.8%), the Canary Islands (16.7%) and Catalonia (13.6%). Andalucia accounts for 12.1%. 

A deep-dive report would also demonstrate the impact not just in such  well known shoot hubs but further afield across the regions of Spain, justifying the SFC’s network of 42 members spread across the country, said Guimeráns. 

The report will also encourage regions of Spain which have fought shy of full-on support for the film and TV sectors to come to believe that investing in them is at least as good as investing in the agricultural or automotive sector, he added. 

“We must show that we are an industry that in addition to generating money also promotes our country, our heritage, and our culture,” said Victoria de Lecea. 

Other reasons for the report abound, as for similar studies carried out by Olsberg•SPI around the world, 

“The amount of film and television production, of investment that’s flowing into making film and television content, has been increasing very, very significantly, in recent years,” Leon Forde, Olsberg.SPI managing director, said at the San Sebastian presentation. 

“Because of that, governments are increasingly mindful of the impact that the sector can make, and also the impacts of the creative industries. In the U.K., our creative industries have been one of our fastest-growing economic sectors, faster than other sectors like construction, and other sectors that governments might look at.”

As a consequence, Spain’s rebate for international projects in Spain is now one of 112 countries, states or provinces globally to offer such a fiscal incentive, Forde said. That has also led to an increase in the need to have robust independent data-driven studies to look at what government investments are generating for a country.

“The economic value of international shoots is typically measured in metrics like job creation, output,” said Forde. “Film-TV production is quite unique in the way its investment hits other parts of the economy. It very much flows to other non-screen sector areas, with spillover benefits, like screen tourism and investment in infrastructure and studios and supply chain.” Non-screen sector impact in fact accounts for 60% of total impact, he observed.  

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