While it may not be everyone’s idea of the best way to organise television, the BBC arguably has the strongest brand name in the world and in some quarters still enjoys the perception of impartiality. Sky TV also is a global leader and innovator in Digital TV while the UK’s reputation for creativity in drama and film remains strong – with actors, directors, scriptwriters and technicians regularly being recognised at industry award ceremonies. The English language advantage greatly aids our strategic advantage within this sphere.
Britain’s press, although in decline, largely as a result of the growth of the internet, also remains at the forefront and as The Daily Telegraph proved in the MP’s expenses scandal, still has the ability to bring authority to account. It remains healthily independent and critical, certainly compared with the traditions of a number of EU nations.
The UK’s media services are also global leaders be it advertising agencies like AMV BBDO or Saatchi, data providers, professional and academic services through businesses such as Reed Elsevier, or web information, design and services companies.
This is big business and a long term growth market with substantial export opportunities to Asia, Latin America and Africa. PWC estimates compound global growth of 5.1% over the next 5 years. PWC’s research shows the UK to be the second biggest European media market, behind Germany and the biggest European export market. The media market is estimated by PWC to be worth £67bn to the UK economy by 2019.
In sport the UK’s position is also notable with Britain’s extraordinary position as the sports capital of the world. This was borne from the ashes of the wealth of the Industrial revolution as a leisured class enjoyed themselves. This country was the first to codify Association Football, Rugby Union and League, Cricket, Golf, Badminton, Tennis, Billiards and Bowls, to name but a few.
Love it, or loathe it, but The Football Premier League is big business. It is a truly Global Brand transcending national boundaries. The EPL’s revenues are the highest of any football league in the world at over £3bn pa and the global TV rights are similarly significant. The brand also projects, for good or ill, British culture far and wide.
Britain is privileged to host or co-host a unique set of major sport at the highest level from the EPL, to cricket at Lords, Grand Slam tennis at Wimbledon, rugby at the Twickenham, Murrayfield and the Cardiff Millennium Stadium – to The Open, The Grand National and Ascot, premier athletics, motor sport and rowing. The list is endless. No other country enjoys this full slam.
While a number of other European nations do host similarly prestigious events no other country can claim such a deep and diverse heritage hosting so many top events. This dominant position in hosting and organising elite sport across a number of fields has spawned a number of related industries where the UK also has leading exportable positions, for example sports media, gambling, branded sportswear and specialised manufacturing.
Indeed ONS data demonstrated in 2014 creative industries in general accounted for 5.2% of the economy (£71.4bn GVA) and provided 1.68 million jobs. The ONS figures suggested this area of the economy was growing at around 10% pa. Britain’s success, or otherwise, in media and sport remains independent of EU membership and will continue to be a key strategic strength.