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Netflix close to long-term UK studio space deal at Pinewood

The Guardian logo The Guardian 19/05/2019 Mark Sweney

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 13: In this photo illustration, the Netflix media service provider's logo is displayed on the screen of a television on February 13, 2019 in Paris, France. Netflix, the US giant of online video subscription, has more than 5 million subscribers in France, 4 and a half years after its arrival in France in September 2014, a spokesman for the company revealed on Wednesday. Netflix offers movies and TV series over the internet and now has 137 million subscribers worldwide. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) © Getty PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 13: In this photo illustration, the Netflix media service provider's logo is displayed on the screen of a television on February 13, 2019 in Paris, France. Netflix, the US giant of online video subscription, has more than 5 million subscribers in France, 4 and a half years after its arrival in France in September 2014, a spokesman for the company revealed on Wednesday. Netflix offers movies and TV series over the internet and now has 137 million subscribers worldwide. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) Netflix is close to securing a deal to lease space at Pinewood Studios, home to the James Bond and Star Wars franchises, to ensure its growing slate of UK productions can be made without delay.

Netflix, which is understood to be near to signing a 10-year deal with Pinewood, began the hunt for a permanent production base last year, as revealed by the Guardian.

Securing a long lease on studio space is a high priority for the California-based company, which recently indicated its frustrations with the overcrowded UK studio market in a submission backing the expansion of one of Britain’s biggest studio complexes, Shepperton, in Surrey.

An Android smartphone with the Netflix logo visible on screen, taken on February 7, 2019. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images) © Getty An Android smartphone with the Netflix logo visible on screen, taken on February 7, 2019. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images) Shepperton is also owned by the Pinewood group, and has hosted productions including Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. “We would like to be able to produce more in the UK,” the company said. “However, we are limited by the lack of available space.”

Netflix has 150 million global subscribers, and an estimated 10 million in the UK, and will spend about $13bn-15bn (£10.2bn-11.8bn) making and licensing TV shows and films globally this year.

Netflix and its US streaming rival Amazon are estimated to have spent about £150m on making shows in the UK last year. Netflix made about 40 productions and coproductions in the UK last year and has significantly ramped up its programming slate for 2019.

Major Netflix UK productions include The Crown, a coproduction with Sony, and Sex Education, filmed in Wales and starring Gillian Anderson.

Netflix logo exhibited during the Mobile World Congress, on February 28, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. 
 (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty Netflix logo exhibited during the Mobile World Congress, on February 28, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images) This year, Netflix is planning to make or coproduce 221 TV shows and films across Europe, 56% more than the 141 made last year, spending more than $1.5bn. Of the 221 European shows, 153 will be original productions.

Last year, Netflix and Amazon became more popular in terms of subscriber numbers in the UK – more than 15 million combined – than the total number of people signed up with the UK’s pay-TV services, including Sky and Virgin Media. The BBC has admitted that 16- to 24-year-olds now spend more time on Netflix in a week than watching all of BBC TV, including the BBC iPlayer.

Pinewood and Netflix declined to comment.

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