Tax relief, a Global Audio IP Fund and skills funding among the key proposals

AudioUK, the trade association for podcast, radio and audiobook producers, has launched a new four-point manifesto, detailing policies to grow the UK’s audio production sector.

The manifesto, entitled ‘The Sound of Success’, calls for political parties to support audio production in the way that successive governments have already given a boost to other content production sectors, for example high-end and children’s TV, animation, video games and film:

  • An Audio Production Tax Relief, would, according to the calculations of Communications Chambers, deliver a net gain to HM Treasury through attracting international investment into UK-made podcasts from brands, broadcasters and platforms.
  • Audio-specific funds will grow the sector both internationally and domestically. A Global Audio IP Fund would mirror the success of the Global IP Fund, to which the current government has just re-emphasised its support, in developing international podcast formats and IP. Audio IP has already been used to develop spinoffs including TV, books, live shows, merchandise and more, examples being Happy Place, Help I Sexted My Boss, The Girlfriends and others. Meanwhile reinstating finance for the Audio Content Fund would reinvigorate the plurality of PSB content for UK audiences on commercial and community radio, as it did so successfully from 2019 to 2023.
  • Skills funding for the audio sector, previously used to set up AudioUK’s now self-support Audiotrain programme, would enable skills and training in podcasting production and entrepreneurship to allow the sector to meet the anticipated increase in demand as demand for audio in the UK grows, both in audiobooks and podcasting.
  • Lastly, as the BBC takes its place in the wider podcast market through its expansion of BBC Studios’ audio production arm, a commitment to, in the next BBC Charter, introduce 100% competition to make non-news BBC radio and audio content would ensure UK independent producers were able to contribute fully to the BBC having a wide a range of viewpoints, stories, ideas, and perspectives.

Chloe Straw, Managing Director of AudioUK, said:

“As the global podcast and audiobook industries show sustained exponential growth, coupled with the enduring strength of radio reach in the UK, it is imperative for the government to actively champion and foster this thriving creative sector. Aligning it with other creative industries in the UK will empower the sector to fully capitalise on the vast domestic and global opportunities available.”

Download: ‘The Sound of Success:  A Manifesto for the UK independent podcast, radio and audiobook industry 2024’