Sky’s boost for Britain’s creative industries
June 9, 2011
By Colin Mann
Sky has announced plans to significantly increase its support for Britain’s creative industries as it continues to broaden the range of programmes enjoyed by customers. Speaking at an event organised by the leading independent think tank, Reform, Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the company intended to increase further its investment in commissioning and producing home-grown programmes.
Reflecting its increasing focus on high-quality British commissions across drama, comedy, factual, entertainment and the arts, Sky now spends £380 million a year on the origination and production of British programming, making it one of the largest investors in UK content. This figure includes investment by Sky in commissioning programmes from the UK’s independent production sector as well as Sky’s own in-house productions in arts, entertainment, news and sport. It excludes investment in sports rights, overseas programme acquisitions and partner channels.
Darroch said this level of investment already made Sky one of Britain’s biggest supporters of home-grown content and announced that over the next three years Sky intended to grow its investment in British content to £600 million a year, an increase of more than 50 per cent. The increase falls within Sky’s previously announced guidance on total programming spend, which includes UK investment.
Darroch said Sky was proud of its track record in creating choice for viewers and supporting the UK creative industries, describing the broadening of Sky’s content offering as a natural evolution:
“We are still a young company and we have ambitions to do a lot more and widen our contribution still further…When Sky began, it made perfect sense for us to focus first on areas which were then relatively under-served, sport, movies and 24-hour news in particular. As the business has grown and become successful, it has given us both the opportunity and the incentive to broaden out and create more choice beyond those initial strengths.”
In explaining the rationale for the increased investment, Darroch noted that home-grown content resonated strongly, and the broadcaster believed it could both bring more quality and value to existing customers, while also reaching out to more people who haven’t yet chosen pay-TV. “This is a significant undertaking for us and a demonstration of our commitment to the UK. Programming like this is inherently risky and time-consuming. But if we get it right, the results won’t just be good for our business, but for customers and Britain’s creative industries as well,” he declared.