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BFI 2013 Stats on UK Cinema

This year's BFI Stat Yearbook is out. Full of interesting, nail-biting stats of our fair nations cinema habits, and, what kinds of films are getting made, by whom?

A couple of #bfistats that jumped out at me...

Just 8% of films released in the UK last year were directed by women and 13% of films written by women.

Cinema seats filled are at their highest in 40 years.
Over-45s were the largest proportion of UK cinema audience (36% of the total, up from 28%) and young people (oddly grouped in the category 15-24) down from 31% in 2011 to 25%

Most of those people were watching Skyfall which was the highest grossing film (£102.8m)

Independently made Uk films, all 148 of them only claim 9% of market share. UK films backed by US studios, only 14 films, claimed 22.7% market share.

More than 50% of films shot in the UK are made on budgets of less than £500,000

The UK film industry's direct contribution to UK GDP in 2011 was £3.8 billion.

Be great to hear what everyone else has picked up on.

  • Thanks for linking this, I haven't explored it deeply yet but what I've read so far is an absolute treasure chest of real world data. I can't suggest it highly enough to any other production people out there, this is great to back up pitches, recognise niches, and sadly justify why to stand any real chance of a big hit, you need American money!

    5 years ago
  • I wonder how alarming it is that younger people seem to be seeing less and less films. I understand one claim is that we had more movies aimed at more mature audiences last year, however it makes you think of audiences in the future if this is to continue.

    5 years ago
  • I don't think that's the reason, I think young people are more likely to download films via torrents because going to the cinema is expensive.
    ...and young people are more likely to be tech-savvy enough to navigate the post pirate-bay torrent world.

    I don't know why they've grouped 15year olds with people in their mid twenties?
    It's unlikely that someone 22-24 would have the same cinema habits as a 15 year old? This confuses me a lot.

    5 years ago
    • That sounds true to me too, and I find the grouping strange as well.

      You still have to wonder what will happen when audiences of all ages are tech-savvy and have grown up used to not going to the cinema!

      5 years ago
    • @Ryan Harrison I think we have many reasons to be optimistic, the biggest of which is that rights holders are slowly waking up to the fact that movie watching public want to be able to see a film when and where they please. Curzon on demand is experimenting with day and date cinema and online realeases, the figures across all three platforms (broadcast, cinema and DVD) were respectable for a field in England; a film that would have otherwise gone out on 4 or 5 screens went to 17 and had a per screen average of £1200. It's not enough data to make grand claims against but it's a start and not bad. It might help exhibitors change their thinking about the theatrical window which really hinders small films and distriburs.

      Pop up and event cinema is thriving all around the UK.

      I am optimistic that we'll always want that collective experience, among others.

      5 years ago
    • @Tricia Tuttle Brilliant! I'm optimistic too, in fact. I think the way we "consume" film will change, but I'm always up for change. I agree we all want the collective experience but I wonder if what Spielberg and Lucas said about film on the big screen becoming more of an event might be the way forward and as for small films; with so many more opportunities for them to be seen, that can only be a good thing.

      5 years ago
    • Stephanie is right about the downloads, at least if applying to the U.S.-- we have tons of evidence that that is the case. Unless we find a solution, piracy will end it for us all. It seems the U.K. has stumbled onto a solution: make films for the older crowd.

      I was unable to read the report, as I couldn't make it larger for some reason. But to shine some light on the 15-24 year old demographic, and why it's done that way: The spending habits are relatively the same. Rightly or wrongly, organizations tend to borrow stats from the advertising industry, not realizing that cinema tastes and purchasing tastes of other products are probably quite different between a 15 year old and a 24 year old. If this were broken down between males and females, I'd say, at least in America, there is very little difference in what a 15 y.o. MALE would want to watch and a 24 y.o. male--given the population as a whole.

      5 years ago
  • Stephanie - great stuff. I love the Yearbook as it's really revelatory about our industry. My favourite facts were...

    1. The BFI awarded £1m to short films in 2012.

    2. ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ received £500,000 in BFI Lottery funding.

    3. Only 7% of UK films made between 2003-10 were profitable.

    4. There were 4,600 students in film-related higher education courses

    5. 80% of all the writers and directors the BFI has tracked in the last ten years have only ever been involved with one independent feature film.

    I've just bloged about 49 interesting things coming our of this year's Yearbook at

    5 years ago
    • The 80% figure on Fact 5 is also shocking because it's exactly the same number shared by Ted Hope on his blog but in relation to The States!

      5 years ago
    • "The BFI Awarded £1M to short films in 2012" but they didn't really, it came from Lighthouse who "managed" it.

      And it looks £0 for 2013 according to this from the BFI site:

      "Is funding available for short films?"

      "Unfortunately, the application period for BFI Shorts 2012 (managed by Lighthouse) is now closed. The BFI doesn’t currently provide any schemes for short films."

      Isn't the BFI just the same old 'School Tie' brigade under a different name with another army of pen-pushers sharing the money pie out amongst their friendly "consultants" and chums' "organisations" for the "Arts"? A bit like the MP's clambering to get a seat on the Lottery QUANGO and get £250k for one day's work a year? Ooer controversy.

      5 years ago
  • Hmmmm... so, independent British filmmaking takes only a 9% market share and more than half of the films shot in the UK are done so on budgets of less than £500,000?

    At first glance these numbers frame a fairly bleak portrait of life as an independent filmmaker in the UK... is a film business at this scale sustainable?

    Well, it’s been 9 years since Greg Hall first burst onto the film scene in this country with his feature film “The Plague” and this weekend marks the cinematic debut of “Communion”, his 4th. As Greg himself admits the path has not been easy but the very fact that he’s still here suggests some hope beneath the BFI statistics.

    Click below for my interview with Greg as he explores both his innovative approach to production and the passion behind his storytelling... both things that keep him hopeful...

    5 years ago