TV switches on to €154m sector success

IRELAND’S success at the movies is being replicated on the small screen, with €154 million being spent in the sector last year.

Money spent on TV programmes is increasing annually, with productions like The Tudors and the hard-hitting drama Rough Diamond some of the big titles, according to IBEC’s Audiovisual Federation.

Its 2007 review reveals that €154m will have been spent on the industry this year compared to €113.8m in 2006.

But the review also signals a lull in the country’s film funding after last year’s boom, with just €11m spent in 2007 compared with almost €30m in 2006.

Tommy McCabe,

Audiovisual Federation director, said: “With regard to film, 2006 had an Irish spend of €29.8m, which is an increase on the lull of €17.5m in 2005.

“There has been an overall downward trend since 2003, and it is estimated that the Irish spend will reduce further to €11m in 2007.

“Films produced in 2006 included Once, Becoming Jane, PS I Love You and How About You.

“Television has shown a more substantial increase, with a consistent upward trend in recent years.

“Major television productions included The Tudors and Rough Diamond and Ros na Run,” he said.

More than 260 audio-visual productions were made in Ireland in 2006, worth €279.9m.

It is broken down into three categories — television, film and animation.

The latter has also shown significant growth in recent years, although a slight drop in the amount of money spent on the sector is expected for 2007.

Some of the big hits include Fluffy Gardens, Tutenstein — which won an Emmy award –—Wobbyland and I’m an Animal.

The main winner is television.

One of the biggest hits has been The Tudors, starring Corkman Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Filmed at the Bray-based Ardmore studios, it recounts the early tumultuous years of King Henry VIII and snapped up a number of Emmys at the recent showbiz awards.

Other TV programmes singled out in the Review were Rough Diamond, co-produced by the BBC and RTÉ and set in the world of Irish horse riding and TG4’s popular soap, Ros na Run.

Ireland enjoyed a film industry boom in 2006 with major productions like PS I Love You, the big screen adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s novel, and Becoming Jane, based on Jane Austen’s early life.

But the big spend is not set to be replicated this year.

Kevin Moriarty, of Ardmore Studios and chairman of the Audiovisual Federation Database Committee, said steps must be taken to restore competitiveness in the film sector.

“Overall, the film and television industry in Ireland continues to be a significant employer with great potential economically and culturally.

“However, if Ireland is to continue to participate in the huge growth internationally of the industry, it is essential that steps are taken now to restore competitiveness, particularly in the film sector,” he said.

The body is devising a number of possible national budget proposals to try and tackle the downturn.

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