Northern Ireland Screen, the corporate body tasked with helping to encourage film and television production in Northern Ireland, has regular board meetings that occasionally reveal little tidbits about HBO’s Game of Thrones. There’s generally a three month lag, give or take, between these meetings and their minutes being posted, so the details of this March 13th (PDF file) meeting are slightly out of date, with the CEO’s confidence that negotiations for season 3 will be successful—they were, with the production well under way in Northern Ireland—and so on.
However, it’s interesting to note this bit:
This tax credit is the same as the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer announced little more than week later,and it would provide substantial tax incentives for Game of Thrones and other top flight dramas to stay or start filming in the UK. It’s also the tax credit that executive producer Frank Doelger remarked on two media about two weeks ago during a set visit for local media, in which he stated that if it passed, it would pretty much assure the production’s remaining in Northern Ireland.
This is actually an important consideration for the production, whether a particular location is cost effective or not, and how far tax incentives from the local government helps lower costs. Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive hour-long television dramas ever produced, and and every bit helps. We recently saw some minor drama over in Croatia thanks to delayed disbursement of funds promised to the production in return for their filming in and around Dubrovnik last year, drama that included the claim that the production would cancel season 3 filming if the funds were not released. This was quickly resolved, to say the least, but it goes to show how serious HBO is about keeping costs down.