Revealed: The real value of having a hit film or TV show in your town

/ Thursday, November 13th, 2014 /
Cast and crew of Game of Thrones on set in Northern Ireland. © HBO

Cast and crew of Game of Thrones on set in Northern Ireland. © HBO

“This research shows that productions don’t just sell cinema tickets and box sets, they also sell the places where they’re made” – Film London CEO Adrian Wootton

Screen tourism hit the headlines last week when fans of television hit Game of Thrones flocked to Spanish towns to catch a glimpse of series favourite Daenerys Targaryen. Now, we’ve released ground-breaking research that suggests the full value of the screen tourism phenomenon: it amounts to millions of pounds of free advertising for the filming locations.

And Game of Thrones isn’t the only hit delivering this benefit. The research found that the social media hype surrounding London-shot Notting Hill generated the equivalent of €24.9m in online ad spend for the capital. Elsewhere, the combined value of the Swedish and British versions of Wallander amounts to an incredible £17.5m in promotional value for Ystad in Sweden, where it is set.

The lasting impact of this benefit is evidenced by the research findings for Malta, with Robert Altman’s 1980 film Popeye still racking up the equivalent of €12.2m in online ad spend as a result of the starring role played by the country’s Anchor Bay. Productions with less international reach, meanwhile, still generate considerable amounts. Television series Braccialetti rossi has resulted in the equivalent of €8.8m worth of promotion to domestic audiences for Italian region Apuglia.

Get the stats – read the report

Going viral: how the numbers stack up

For the report ‘Quantifying Location Placement Value’, social media intelligence agency Human Digital analysed almost 35million comments and interactions across sites including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Pinterest and found a clear correlation between mentions of place and the high profile films or television shows that filmed there.

The research focussed on four European locations – London, Ystad, Apulia (Italy) and Malta – and a selection of the films and television shows filmed there.

Commenting on the insights, Wootton explains that Human Digital looked “at a range of projects – from indies through to global blockbusters and television series”, but across all of these variables “the results show productions get people talking about the destinations and locations they feature”.

The research concluded that all of the likes, mentions, tweets and retweets amounted to paid-for advertising for these locations, with values ranging from thousands to millions of pounds. “Quite simply, this is free advertising” says Wootton, concluding that it: “emphasises the power of screen productions as a tourism driver.

Sharing the news

Osman Junaid of Human Digital explains the methodology behind the report.

Osman Junaid of Human Digital explains the methodology behind the report.

The publication of this innovative report represents the culmination of three-year pan-European project EuroScreen, concluding today with a major international conference in London.

Commenting ahead of the event, Wootton said “I thank INTERREG for their vision in funding this project which has resulted in this valuable research which we hope to build on, and thank all our EuroScreen partners.”

The event, Seen on Screen: Capitalising on Screen Tourism, sees EuroScreen partners arrive in the capital to hear and share case studies, discuss the revealing findings and explore best practice.
Presented in partnership with VisitBritain, presentations include:

  • Keynote interview with Iain Smith, renowned producer of 24: Live Another Day, Cold Mountain, Seven Years in Tibet and more
  • Discussion of the success of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter – delivered by the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the company’s Leavesdon Studios
  • Paddington case study exploring the upcoming international and domestic campaign around the soon to be released London-shot film
  • The Game of Thrones effect with a focus on the impact the hit series has had on main locations in Northern Ireland
  • The impact of Nordic Noir exploring its direct impact on the growth of international tourism to Scandinavian locations

This evening delegates attend an evening reception sponsored by Warner Bros. London, with some very special guests.

Download and read the report