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The KIPA Summit zooms in on the economic impact of screen production in Poland

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A comprehensive study by OSPI and KIPA has examined Poland's evolving screen-production landscape, emphasising its importance to the economy and the need for refined incentives to sustain its growth

The KIPA Summit zooms in on the economic impact of screen production in Poland
A moment during the KIPA Summit (© Adam Stępień)

The world of screen production, encompassing both film and television, has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years, marking a significant global shift in entertainment consumption patterns. Within this landscape, Poland has emerged as a compelling hub for such creative endeavours. Over the course of almost a year, Olsberg SPI (OSPI), the global strategy consultancy for the creative industries, in collaboration with the Polish Producers Alliance (KIPA), has meticulously examined the economic ramifications of screen production in Poland. This thorough analysis was presented by Leon Forde, managing director of OSPI, during a two-day industry event, the KIPA Summit, which ran from 7-8 December in Warsaw. The analysis aimed to provide insights into the macroeconomic and microeconomic effects while also shedding light on the industry's growth trajectory and the strategic implications.

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Regarding the methodology employed, a multifaceted approach was adopted, including confidential consultations with industry stakeholders, data mining from diverse sources, and an extensive survey of the top 30 recipients of the Polish cash rebate. Working closely with academic Marta Materska-Samek, of Jagiellonian University, OSPI laid the groundwork for a comprehensive analysis. Leveraging inputs from national broadcasters, subscription video on demand (SVoD) providers, academic reports and statistical data from various sources such as Statistics Poland, the Polish Film Institute and Ampere Analysis, OSPI constructed an intricate economic-impact tool, which amalgamated data points to gauge the economic footprint of screen production in Poland.

The global surge in screen production has been propelled by the proliferation of SVoD providers and increased investments from traditional broadcasters and studios. The figures speak volumes: with the number of feature films produced globally skyrocketing from 5,700 in 2009 to nearly 10,000 in 2019, European audiovisual fiction surged from 981 in 2015 to over 1,500 in 2022. Notably, Poland mirrors this upward trajectory, witnessing an approximate 8% annual growth in original content investment by Polish broadcasters since 2015, soaring from $260 million (€241 million) in 2015 to $479 million (€444.5 million) in recent years. Simultaneously, SVoD providers like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Amazon Prime have significantly augmented their investment in Poland, indicating a substantial upswing in the sector's economic activity. Netflix alone, which virtually had no expenditure in 2016, surged to over $100 million (€92.6 million) in 2023.

The economic impact of screen production in Poland is measured through three crucial metrics: output, gross value added (GVA) and full-time equivalent jobs. By employing an economic model, OSPI estimated the total spend on screen production in 2022 at approximately PLN 2.5 billion (€576 million) – a conservative estimate, yet a solid foundation for analysis. This expenditure resulted in a substantial economic output of nearly PLN 8.7 billion (€2 billion), GVA of over PLN 3.4 billion (€783.4 million) and the creation of approximately 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs. This demonstrates the sector's significant contribution to the Polish economy.

In addition to macroeconomic considerations, OSPI delved into the micro impacts of individual productions. Collaborating with four specific productions on a confidential basis, OSPI scrutinised budgetary allocations line by line. This meticulous examination revealed that over 60% of the budget expenditure on high-budget comedy and thriller series transcended the confines of the screen-production sector, funnelling into various sectors across the Polish economy. From healthcare to construction, fashion and beyond, the tentacles of screen production's economic influence reached far and wide, fortifying numerous industries.

Vendor heat mapping and postcode breakdowns underscored the geographical dispersion of the economic impact, revealing clusters of activity not only in Warsaw, but also in Wrocław, Kraków and other diverse regions, reflecting the need for specialised services and supplies specific to production requirements. This geographical spread highlights the specialised needs of productions, fostering collaborations across different parts of the country.

The Polish production incentive introduced in 2019 emerged as a linchpin in boosting the sector's financial viability. Survey data revealed that around 75% of producers highlighted the incentive's crucial role in making their productions financially feasible. However, limitations in the incentive structure, such as overall and project caps, pose impediments to unleashing the full potential of this sector, potentially hindering further growth.

The study affirms Poland's robust talent pool, steeped in both traditional and digital skills, acting as a strong foundation for future industry growth. The escalating investment trends from broadcasters and SVoD giants demonstrate the sector's strategic importance and vitality. However, enhancing the existing incentive structure and addressing limitations can unlock additional growth potential, sustaining Poland's position as an attractive destination for international productions while fostering a thriving domestic screen-production ecosystem. Governments recognise the strategic impact of the screen-production industry, not only in economic terms, but also in its widespread geographical and sectoral influences.

In conclusion, Poland stands at a juncture where strategic investments and policy refinements can bolster the screen-production sector, amplifying its economic impact, nurturing talent and ensuring sustained growth in an industry that has become a cornerstone of global entertainment. As Poland continues to evolve as a global player in screen production, strategic investments and policy improvements will be pivotal in unlocking its full potential and ensuring sustained growth in this dynamic industry.

You can download and read the full report here.

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