AudioUK makes case for audio production tax relief

AudioUK has today published a report outlining the case for an audio production tax relief (APTR).

The proposed tax relief would aim to take advantage of the growing investment in podcast and audiobook production by international brands, broadcasters and others, which has led to a rapidly growing market.

A tax relief would directly reduce the amount of tax paid on a production that met certain criteria.

The government already has a number of other creative sector tax reliefs in areas such as high-end TV production, animation and video games. All of these have been shown to attract investment into those sectors and this has had knock-on positive effects on other parts of the UK economy.

AudioUK’s report details how the UK’s audio production sector is well-placed to take advantage of this boom and that the tax relief would shine a light on the sector and allow it to attract a larger proportion of the international investment available.

UK production companies have a strong track record of making high-quality award-winning content, originating in radio programmes and now in podcasts and audiobooks.

This presents a huge opportunity which many producers are already seeking to take, with some success.

The report also points out that other countries will increasingly be focusing on that growing creative industry as a place to target investment and other support, therefore meaning that this is a crucial time for UK the Government to introduce incentives to invest in the UK.

The report contains financial analysis from the specialist consultancy Communications Chambers, which estimates that the introduction of an APTR would result in a net gain to the Treasury in terms of its overall contribution to the economy.

The report has been submitted to government and AudioUK will be seeking discussions about introducing an APTR as part of next year’s Budget.

Kellie While, Chair of AudioUK, said: “Our members are beginning to see the benefits of the growth in podcasts and audiobooks – as entrepreneurs they’re looking to grow their businesses using their long-establish expertise in audio production.

“But it won’t be long before other nations begin to develop their own capacity in podcasting and we are already seeing one or two examples of other government’ support for this. So now is a crucial time to introduce this tax relief to make sure our creative economy can take full advantage of the growing international investment.”

Quotes from UK Production Companies

Steve Ackerman – SVP, Co-head Global Podcasts, Sony Music Entertainment (owners of production company Somethin’ Else): “The audio industry worldwide is facing a seismic change as podcasting drives new investment, revenue streams and entrepreneurialism, with the UK well placed to be a leading global creative force. As such, there is an opportunity for the government to help push this growth and ensure that British audio producers are well placed to take advantage of the huge changes that are already underway. Any tax relief help can be a big spur to this growth and business development and ensure that at a key moment for audio globally, British companies are at the forefront for attracting investment.”

Tim Hammond – CEO, Listen Entertainment: “The UK’s professional podcast production industry is relatively immature but, despite being young, it’s true to say that the UK is home to some of the brightest audio production talent in the world – this is recognised by international commissioners who are increasingly keen to buy from the UK. However, in an internationally competitive market, what (aside from the best ideas and the highest craft skills) gives UK producers the edge? The creation of a specific Tax Relief would help incentivise commissioners, along with other investors in content IP, to spend their money in the UK rather than elsewhere. This inward international investment will help the UK production sector excel in what is fast becoming a truly international economy; promoting audio production in the UK and supporting the creation of a mass of infrastructure and sector skills necessary for the long term growth and continued viability of the sector.”

Melanie Harris – MD, Sparklab Productions: “As an independent audio production company outside London, we are always looking for ways to find new platforms for our work and commercial opportunities to help us create audio content for new markets. We are becoming more successful in forging new commercial partnerships, both in the UK and globally. It seems an oversight to be left off the list of creative industries eligible for tax reliefs, given how audio production has grown in recent years. An Audio Production Tax Relief would be a great boost for our sector and provide incentives for more investment in companies and projects dedicated to audio production.”

Phil Critchlow OBE – CEO and Founding Director – TBI Media: “The audio sector in the UK is evolving like never before. High quality short-form and series offerings are breaking new ground as traditionally visual brands seek to extend across audio platforms. Tax relief in this sector is key to maximising the potential growth of what is fast becoming a global marketplace for the UK independent audio production industry.”

Andrew Mark Sewell – MD, B7 Media: “With consumption of podcast audio drama increasing at the same time as a year-on-year reduction in commissioned hours by BBC Radio Drama, competition from international producers (Audible, Spotify), means UK indie producers are now turning to private investment to help them develop, sustain and future proof their audio production businesses. Like other creative industries such as animation, video games, television and film, the introduction of tax relief would be significant in helping to encourage domestic and international co-production investment. It would help ensure future growth in this vibrant and growing sector, while simultaneously ensuring continued employment for UK audio professionals.”

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Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2021 at 11:45 am by RadioToday UK

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