Boom in book adaptation earnings

The value to the economy of film, television and theatre adaptations of books is soaring, according to a new report from the Publishers Association – thanks to our copyright laws.

Adaptations of literature are earning 44% more than those based on original screenplays in the UK, and 53% more worldwide; they provide the “high end” of TV productions and attract 58% more viewers than other productions; and they account for almost three times more theatre ticket sales.

The report, Publishing’s contribution to the wider creative industries, compiled by Frontier Economics, puts the UK publishing industry at the foundation of  the creative industries sector, which earns Britain £92bn a year. But behind the publication of the report is a warning to safeguard existing copyright rules.

“From the sprawling Harry Potter universe to the colourful stage adaptations of Roald Dahl’s timeless stories, British books are world-leading, and hold exceptional cultural relevance on a global scale” said the Publishers Association CEO Stephen Lottinga but added: “All of this success is only possible due to our gold-standard copyright system and at a time of great change we call upon the government to do everything it can to continue to support us.”

Between 2007 and 2016 52% of the top UK produced films, such as My Cousin Rachel, based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel, were based on published material and grossed £1.5bn with 61% box office in the UK, £22.5bn and 65% globally.

On television, out of 35 “high end” series, such as John Le Carré’s The Night Manager (pictured, starring Tom Hiddleston and Jed Marshall), between January and September 2017, 40% were based on books.

In 2016 27 theatre productions adapted from books, like Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, generated £25.8m in revenue. They tend to run for longer and produce 2.8 times the revenue original shows do.



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