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UK Audio Production Sector Seeks Support

AudioUK’s Chloe Straw calls for more investment, engagement

AudioUK Managing Director Chloe Straw

Britain is a leader in independent audio production, but maintaining that leadership position will require investment and support from the U.K. government.

Chole Straw, managing director of AudioUK, the British trade group representing independent audio production companies, outlined the case for doing more to put audio production on the same level as other creative media content production.

Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum in mid-November, Straw noted “opportunities are there for the taking, but we need to be quick. The global podcasting market is expected to grow at a rate of 31.1%, to reach $94.88 billion by 2028. The U.K. sector is currently one of the most developed in terms of numbers of companies and professionals involved in audio production. But this may only be for a period of time as other countries seek to build their own sectors.”

[Related: “BBC Cuts Back Local Radio in England”]

Pointing to areas where audio producers are not on equal footing with other creative industries, Straw noted that they are not represented on the Creative Industries Council and that the U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport does not disaggregate podcasts and other audio productions from radio broadcasting in its data collection and reports.

Straw also called for the creation of a tax credit program for audio productions, similar to those available for film, television, video games, and animation, to incentivize investment in the sector, along with investment in skills training and renewal of the Audio Content Fund.

Beyond this sort of direct investment and support, Straw noted that commercial audio producers should be allowed to compete fully for non-news speech programming production commissions from the BBC, especially as the broadcaster is reviewing whether or not to move BBC Radio and Audio speech production operation to its commercial arm, BBC Studios.