By Gary Carver, Director in the Office Agency team at Savills Cardiff and Clare Bailey, Commercial Research Director at Savills.
The Independent Review of the Creative Industries, which was commissioned by the government in 2017, found that Cardiff had become one of the UK’s largest media production centres outside of London, with BBC Wales, ITV Wales, S4C and over 600 independent TV production firms based there.
With Cardiff Capital Region home to the UK’s third biggest audio-visual media sector, there is potential for continued exponential growth.
The Cardiff area has long been established as a leading centre of media production, innovation and the creative industries and has developed one of the strongest media sector growth rates in the UK, attracting one in eight of all new UK jobs in film/TV, producing global successes on film and TV shows including Sex Education, His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and Dream Horse.
The regeneration of Cardiff Bay has seen many production studios move into the area, including BBC Roath Lock Studios, where Doctor Who, Casualty and Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm are filmed, and ITV Wales’ news production facilities. BBC Cymru Wales also moved into their new Cardiff HQ at 3 Central Square in 2020, which also serves as a base for S4C. Roku, America’s number one TV streaming platform, also took over 20,000 sq ft at Fusion Point One last quarter, putting Cardiff firmly on the map as one of the UK's leading locations for film and television
Time and time again, clusters of emerging talent drive the creation of jobs and new businesses, and attract investment capital. With Cardiff's University-led consortium winning a £50m bid to develop a world-leading cluster for media innovation in the Cardiff Capital Region, this sector is only going to continue to grow. The UK Government has announced that £22.2m has been awarded to Welsh scheme media.cymru, with further investment coming from Cardiff Capital Region and the Welsh Government through Creative Wales. This significant backing from the UK Government will also help develop the region further, driving job creation and growth.
However, start-ups and creative ecosystems are key to growing a vibrant city, and the region needs a skills pipeline to continue this growth. In fact, Wolf Studio – located in one of the UK’s largest purpose-built studios, in Cardiff Bay, which is home to a number of BBC/HBO co-productions – has attracted funding from Creative Wales to provide trainee opportunities in the form of paid placements. These placements are tracked and monitored to help create future career pathways for trainees and create a permanent pool of TV talent in Wales.
All this points to a continued dominance of Cardiff being one of the preeminent locations for the Media and Television, and related companies, to be based.