Jay Roewe, senior executive of the HBO, was in Belfast last week. �Home Box Office (commonly abbreviated as HBO), is a subsidiary of the media conglomerate Time Warner and it is an American premium cable television network that broadcasts in over 150 countries.� In the United States alone, it broadcasts two 24/7 pay-television services (HBO and Cinemax) to over 40 million subscribers.

The series Game of Thrones is currently being filmed in Northern Ireland and it is going extremely well.� Like all large scale film/television production it is very challenging but all of the creative executives involved in the project are very happy and there is enormous optimism that the series will be a great success.� Most of the series is being filmed at locations in northern Ireland with some extra filming in Malta for the desert sequences.� The series will involve a spend of more than �20m in Northern Ireland and that is good for the local economy.� Planning is now shifting to arrangements for the second series and Jay Roewe's visit was primarily focused on the planning for that second series.

Along with Arlene Foster, the DEIT minister, I met Jay Roewe, producer Mark Huffam, who is from Northern Ireland, and the chair and chief executive of NI Screen.� It was very useful to hear directly from a major figure in the film industry about the potential for Northern Ireland to develop as a location for film making.� There are challenges as well as opportunities but this is certainly a potential growth area in the local economy.