The broadcaster Sky plans to create more than 2,000 jobs and develop a major new studio.
Sky has revealed that it plans to invest in building a new 32-acre, state-of-the-art TV and film studio at Elstree, which is home to the world famous Elstree Studios.
Sky said the proposed development represents a "significant new investment" in the UK and European creative economy and will be made with the backing of Sky’s new owner Comcast and in partnership with sister-company NBCUniversal. Legal & General will develop the site and provide financing for the project.
A Sky spokesman said: "In, theory some of the ideas and stories from the Sky Studios Innovation Hub in Leeds could eventually be made at Sky Studios Elstree."
Subject to planning consent the 32-acre development is expected to open in 2022 and will be able to produce several films and TV shows simultaneously, with each of the 14 sound stages covering over 20,000 sqft. Once complete, the site will include production offices, a set construction workshop, a screening cinema and state-of-the-art post-production and digital facilities.
Sky said it was also committed to supporting the next generation of young and diverse creative talent and will use Sky Studios Elstree to build on its existing work.
The statement added: "The creation of Sky Studios Elstree will provide a new home for Britain’s flourishing creative sector and much needed space for Europe’s brightest talent. It will provide significant capacity for Sky Studios to produce more original content in-house, while continuing to work with independent production companies across Europe."
The new studio space will also play host to major film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and television series from NBCUniversal Content Studios. It will also have capacity to host productions from third party producers.
The planned Sky Studios Elstree will work in close collaboration with Elstree Studios despite both businesses being managed independently of each other.
Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said: “Sky Studios Elstree will play a pivotal role in bringing the wealth of UK and European talent and creativity to the world. We know our customers love our award-winning Sky Originals like Chernobyl and our investment in Sky Studios Elstree will enable us to bring more unique stories to more viewers. We are proud to be working with our colleagues at NBCUniversal and Comcast, and our partners Hertsmere Borough Council and L&G to bring this project to life. Together we share a joint vision to create a world-leading production capability that will support the creation of thousands of jobs in the creative sector. We can’t wait to get started.”
Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group, said: “The UK is a great place to invest. Growing at twice the speed of the economy as a whole and accounting for over two million jobs, our creative industries are a key component of Britain’s bright future. This investment is a great match for backing our UK pension promises. Sky, NBCUniversal and Comcast are global leaders in entertainment which will bring the best out of the UK’s amazing pool of talent. L&G is thrilled to be playing a supporting role in this major production.”
Roger Morris, Managing Director, Elstree Studios, said: “Sky Studios Elstree will be of immense importance to the UK Film and Television industry – it will not only boost the local economy of Hertsmere and Hertfordshire, but will also have a major impact on the UK’s creative sector as a whole. We are extremely proud that Sky Studios Elstree has chosen to locate near us and we look forward to working closely with them.”
Sky has also made a significant investment in Yorkshire in recent years. Last month, the media and entertainment company revealed it was creating 500 jobs in Leeds.
The customer service agents will support customers across a range of Sky products and services including Sky Broadband, Sky Mobile and Sky TV.
Speaking about the investment in Leeds, a Sky spokesman said: "The new contact centre at No 1 Leeds on Whitehall Road will be set up to support Sky customers however they choose to contact Sky, by calling, texting, chatting via the MySky app or even via Facebook messenger.
The spokesman added: "Over 1,000 people already work for Sky in Leeds, making it one of the city’s biggest employers.
"The majority of Sky’s Leeds-based staff currently work on Sky’s digital and technical capability out of Sky at Leeds Dock - Sky’s tech hub that opened in the city in 2015."
Earlier this year, Sky also announced the creation of a new Sky Studios Innovation Hub based in Leeds which is focused on the development of talent, scripted partnerships and new content.
Over the next five years Sky plans to more than double its investment in original content through Sky Studios.
The creation of the new jobs will see Sky’s UK and Ireland employee base grow to 25,000 employees - an increase of nearly 5 per cent.
Speaking last month, Stephen van Rooyen, the chief executive for UK & Ireland, at Sky said: "Our customers love viewing all their favourite shows in one place with Sky Q, so it’s great that 500 new Sky engineers will be hitting the roads right across the UK this winter to meet growing customer demand.
"Together with our expanded team in Leeds, these 1,000 new employees are a real testament to Sky’s commitment to customer service and investment to create a diverse workforce right across the UK.
"Leeds is a city full of talent and potential, playing a key role in what makes Sky successful.
"As it continues to grow as a vibrant hub of digital and technological innovation, we’re delighted to be creating 500 new roles to join our brilliant team in Leeds to meet demand and provide the best service possible for our customers."
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