Sunday 19 May 2019 5:07 pm

Netflix signs Pinewood Studios deal as it ramps up investment in British shows

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Netflix has reportedly signed a deal to lease a third of the space at Pinewood Studios as it looks to ramp up its investment in British TV shows.

The US streaming giant is set to take roughly 150,000 square feet of space at the famous film studios in Buckinghamshire, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing sources.

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It is believed Netflix could be paying around £40 per square foot for the production facilities, taking the total bill to £6m per year.

The move follows reports last year that Netflix was in advanced talks with the studio. The firm will likely sign a ten-year lease with a five-year break clause, in line with industry norms, according to the report.

It comes after Netflix revealed plans to double down on its output of British shows after the success of major hits such as The Crown and Sex Education, which were both filmed in the UK.

The US company told a House of Lords committee last week it wanted to become “champion of British content, talent and storytelling”, while it has separately said it is looking to buy a British production studio.

Netflix has also beefed up its roster of British executives, hiring Sky’s former head of drama Anna Mensah as its new head of UK scripted productions last year.

The expansion plans will increase the pressure on traditional broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV, which are facing growing pressure from the deep-pocketed US firm.

Netflix is expected to spend as much as $15bn (£11.8bn) on new shows this year, compared to an annual BBC budget of just £1.5bn.

The company is also believed to be snapping up rights to a string of high-profile books for TV adaptation, with around 50 literary works said to be in the pipeline.

“The recently announced adaptation of Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude demonstrates that authentic foreign-language projects are increasingly being given airtime,” said Teresa Potocka, founder and chief executive of Sensethefuture Pictures.

“The move to secure a production hub at Pinewood Studios will ensure Netflix’s growing slate of UK-based productions can be filmed without delays, but it does not suggest that the company will continue to look to books to find new voices as it expands its UK base.”

Read more: Netflix predicts slowed subscriber growth as price hikes begin to hurt

But the BBC and ITV will be hoping Britbox, their new joint streaming service set to launch later this year, will help it fend off its US competitor.

Pinewood Studios declined to comment. Netflix has been contacted for comment.