Business

Game of Thrones pumps £166m into north's economy says NI Screen report

Emilia Clarke stars as Daenerys in Games of Thrones, which has already contributed £146 million to the Northern Ireland economy
Gary McDonald Business Editor

GAME of Thrones has pumped £146 million into the Northern Ireland economy since it was first shot here in 2010 - and all for a spend of less than £14 million.

And by the time the fantasy series - whose stars like Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau earn $500,000 per episode - winds up next year, it will have contributed at least £166m to the north and catapulted the region into the premier league of global production locations.

The figures are contained in a report from NI Screen which offers an insight into the monetary value of the north's burgeoning film and creative industry.

The government-backed body, the lead organisation in developing the film, television and digital content industry, says that in the four years to March 2018, the total expenditure on Northern Ireland goods and services in the sector will be more than a quarter of a billion pounds (£250,750,000).

The various productions have led to the creation of 2,800 direct full-time equivalent jobs valued at £107,822,500.

And it has all come from a modest investment by NI Screen of just £42.8m.

Since 2013 production of film and TV drama here has continued to boost the local economy as the cameras rolled on The Frankenstein Chronicles, The Truth Commissioner, Line of Duty, Morgan, Millie Inbetween, Miss Julie, Lost City of Z, The Journey, We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story, The Secret, The Fall, My Mother and Other Strangers and, most notably, Game of Thrones.

Local animation companies have attracted considerable international interest over the period and are consolidating into a significant and sustainable sector.

In the period covered by the report, Lily’s Driftwood Bay has become a hit worldwide, Puffin Rock likewise has reached the screens and picked up awards; Zig and Zag have returned in animated form and Pablo, the first children’s series to be made about a character on the autism spectrum, began production.

Gaming and mobile has stepped up in Northern Ireland since the previous report with a growing cluster of local companies now involved in digital and interactive content.

NI Screen chief executive Richard Williams said: “Since our last Adding Value Report in 2013 so much has happened which Northern Ireland can be proud of. It has been a great period for the screen industries here, with lots more exciting projects in the pipeline.

“These are exciting times and we are very conscious that this is the result of tremendous support given to the screen sector here by Invest NI, the Department for the Economy, the Department for Communities, the British Film Institute and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.”

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