Amazon announces major UK film studio investment

Amazon streaming service Prime Video on Wednesday announced a major “long-term” deal for exclusive use of new production facilities at studios near London, further boosting Britain’s booming film industry.

The “landmark multimillion-pound… contract with Shepperton Studios” was for “original TV series and movie productions”, its owner Pinewood Group said in a statement.

On completion of the new facilities next year, Shepperton Studios will be the second largest in the world with 31 purpose-built stages, according to Pinewood Group chairman Paul Golding. “This… commitment to Shepperton supports our considerable investment in this fantastic studio,” he added.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the Amazon deal represented a boost to the UK economy. “The investment will drive growth and create jobs,” he added in the joint statement.

Britain’s renowned film industry has been boosted in recent years by online players, including also Netflix, seeking facilities for their own productions.

At the same time, the pandemic has triggered a surge in the streaming of films and television shows, benefitting also the likes of Disney+.

Shepperton studios, situated just south of London, has also struck an agreement with Netflix, broadcaster of “The Crown” — the hit series chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Shepperton has long been synonymous with top-tier television and movies and we’re proud that it will be home to many Prime Video original productions in the years to come,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, added Wednesday.

Amazon Studios recently announced that it was switching production of the second season of its Lord Of The Rings series to the UK from New Zealand.

It comes as US-owned entertainment groups Sky and Sunset Studios are in the process of building separate film and television studios close to London to help meet strong demand for streamed content.

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