Report: UK TV programme sales £902m

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Pact – the trade association representing the commercial interests of UK independent television, film, digital, children’s and animation media companies – has published its new-look TV Exports report, which it says reinforces the UK’s position as a world leader in producing high-quality programmes that are popular with viewers around the world.

The report – produced in partnership with BBC Studios, ITV Studios and DIT – showed that the UK performed strongly in sales of TV content in 2016/17 with overall estimated total revenues of £902 million. US sales were £335 million, making it the UK’s largest export market.

Australia and France were the next largest markets (£73 million and £60 million) respectively, with France being the UK’s biggest non-English speaking market.

While finished TV programming was the largest source of revenue (£404 million), streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix accounted for a quarter of sales in 2016/17 (£225 million).

Information on genre was included in the report to provide more insight into which genres were top at driving sales. Entertainment was the best-selling genre as a whole, followed by Factual and Kids.

The most widely exported shows of 2016/17 highlight the variety of content available. Planet Earth II, Sherlock and Midsomer Murders maintain the success of earlier series, while high-production period dramas including Victoria and The Crown were also popular globally.

Looking to the future, indies are confident that their revenues will grow and there is a particular focus on increasing sales to China. Uncertainty in the European market, driven by Brexit, as well as the growth and dominance of streaming players are the talking points of the industry.

“The new-look report shows that the UK continues to provide world class programming across a range of genres and indies are taking advantage of the opportunities that streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix have to offer,” noted Pact CEO John McVay.

“As the world’s biggest exporter of British television, from both the BBC and UK indies, we were encouraged to see good growth in 2016/17 on the back of strong global demand for British dramas from Sherlock and Luther to Silent Witness and Call the Midwife as well as our world leading entertainment, factual entertainment and natural history,” added Paul Dempsey, President, Global Markets, BBC Studios.

“Given the pre-sales of ITV Studios’ forthcoming drama Vanity Fair and the ongoing popularity of our returnable scripted series such as Victoria and Poldark – as well as the current global buzz around our record-breaking smash hit format Love Island – we know there is an ongoing desire for UK content and the report’s figures amply demonstrate that,” commented Maria Kyriacou, President, ITV Studios International.


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