Irish AV sector contributes half a billion euro to Irish economy

Industry News


PwC Report highlights how Section 481 film tax credit underpins sector’s success

  • €469.1m in total economic contribution in 2019.
  • Section 481 film tax incentive delivers return of €3.80 for every €1 invested.
  • 16,952 Full Time Equivalents employed by S481-supported screen industry productions.
  • Increasing global competition for major productions, with countries including the UK, Hungary and Czech Republic adapting film tax incentives to offer more attractive packages.

A new report published today highlights how Film, TV and Animation productions supported by the Section 481 tax credit scheme delivered over €469 million in total economic contribution to Ireland in 2019, representing a return on investment of €3.80 for every €1. The report also finds that there were 124 productions supported by Section 481 in 2019, which enabled the employment of 16,952 full time positions and provided an estimated 40,000 days of skills training and development.

The PwC report — The Film/TV Industry & Ireland’s Economy: Insights report on the contribution of Section 481 Film Tax Credit-supported production activity to the Irish economy was commissioned by Ardmore Studios and Troy Studios, with the support of Animation Ireland and Screen Producers Ireland. It sets out to quantify the positive contribution the sector delivers to the national economy, whilst demonstrating the importance of Section 481 to incentivise the growth and success of domestic and international productions.

According to Elaine Geraghty, CEO of Troy Studios and Ardmore Studios the ongoing success of industry is underpinned by a range of factors, including our skilled talent pool in front of and behind the camera, as well as the availability and development of high-quality studio facilities. The Section 481 film tax credit, however, is the cornerstone of Ireland’s successful screen industry and a critical pillar of the financing structure of the industry.

“Over recent years we have seen global successes such as Normal People and Fate: The Winx Saga produced in Ireland and filmed at Ardmore Studios, Bray; on Sunday night we saw Kilkenny’s own WolfWalkers competing for an Oscar with the world’s best, and later this year Apple TV+’s Foundation - principally shot at Limerick’s Troy Studios  will debut on screens around the world. Covid-19 has shown the insatiable global need and appetite for new content and programming. The pandemic has also showcased the resilience of the sector, where it swiftly adapted and invested significantly to provide a safe environment for productions to continue during 2020 and to date. A step change has taken place internationally for demand, and Ireland is well placed to take advantage of this.”

“Section 481 allows Ireland to compete for international production investment and it is timely to look at that competitive landscape to ensure our incentive continues to attract those multi-million scaled repeat productions that can further develop our skills and talent pool, as well as provide  significant further fiscal benefits to our economy. What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that the upper limit of €70 million on our Section 481 tax incentive is a barrier to Ireland securing those large-scale international productions,” Ms. Geraghty states. “The Government’s stated ambition is to increase the scale of the sector to a point where we will double employment to 24,000 people employed, delivering a gross value added of some €1.4bn. To achieve this, the Section 481 incentive needs to be adjusted to ensure Ireland remains as competitive globally as possible.”

Susan Kirby, CEO at Screen Producers Ireland, said “Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) are delighted to support the launch of this industry report, which demonstrates the return on investment of S481 to the economy through the development of a competitive audio visual industry. The indigenous independent production sector, along with local crew, underpin the success of S481 in developing a world class Irish AV sector and attracting incoming productions to film in Ireland. The  ongoing success of the Irish AV sector and S481 will be through the work of Irish producers continuing to secure incoming productions along with the continued development and creation of Irish-centered content.”   

Commenting on the figures, Animation Ireland Chief Executive Ronan McCabe said; ‘’The PwC report shows that Ireland is now a major global player when it comes to animation production, and this is something we should all be extremely proud of. The creativity, talent and expertise we have on this island is extraordinary. The Irish animation industry has enormous potential and these figures demonstrate that the sector is moving in the right direction.”

Section 481 & The Film/TV Industry, Insights on the Sector’s Contribution to the Irish Economy can be viewed in full online here