The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Animation UK – A Lesson in Lobbying

The Animation UK campaign has achieved a fantastic success, with tax incentives for British animation coming into effect in the April budget, and operational this year. Congratulations to the various producers who formed the Animation UK group and to PACT who worked closely with them to achieve this.

In the budget which comes into effect this week the UK tax incentive for animated series is launched.  From April onwards UK producers will be able to reduce their overall costs through a rebate on Corporation Tax.  Already there are signs, just as with the high-end drama tax incentive, that the business of animation is focusing on the UK again as our first-class creative reputation is enhanced by financial advantages.

This is clearly good for British animation companies.  But how does it affect UK kids and their media provision?  And why did the Children's Media Foundation support the campaign?

All in all, it's probable that as a result of the tax-break more programmes on British kids' TV will be animated or have a significant amount of animated content in their mix (the new regulations allow a programme to be just 51% animation to qualify).  The CMF will be keeping a close eye on how that plays out over time.

Equally, it's likely that more programmes will be "international" in their content and style.  Animation is rarely fully-funded by any single broadcaster, and usually financed by a collection of broadcasters, a distributor and other funders.  inevitably the resulting shows tend towards content and style which is attractive in more than one territory.

The CMF has made it clear to MPs and Government that the animation tax break does not solve the problem of a lack of commissioning of UK content for British kids. But we backed the campaign  because we believe that any assistance for the UK production sector is to be welcomed - especially in such difficult times.

We believe UK kids will benefit indirectly from a better supported animation sector.  More animated series will have a British sensibility at their heart, more pre-school content may be made with the emphasis on UK Early Learning Goals rather than educational standards "across the pond",  and if companies which work in mixed media are helped to survive, they will be better placed to take on UK-focused commissions if there is an upturn in spending in the future.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)