Advanced Television

UK TV production sector tops £3bn

September 6, 2019

UK independent TV production sector revenues reached over £3 billion (€3.35bn) in 2018, their highest level to date and up over 40 per cent since 2008, according to the Pact Census, from Pact, the trade body that represents UK independent television, film, digital, children’s and animation media companies.

This is an increase of 10 per cent since 2017 and revenues have grown by over £500 million since 2012 – a rate of 3.1 per cent per year.

International revenues rocket

Over the past year, international revenue grew by 20 per cent to £962 million, an increase of over 90 per cent since 2013. This growth was primarily driven by a 28 per cent increase in primary international commission revenues totalling £704 million in 2018. Primary international commissions include titles such as Sex Education, The Crown and Black Mirror.

Domestic TV revenues also rose by 3 per cent to just under £1.9 billion, but remain broadly flat since 2008. This is due to PSB commissioning spend falling annually while commissioning spend from multichannels continues to grow (up by £62 million to £321 million), more than doubling since 2008 (£321 million compared with £158 million).

SVOD commissioning income soars

Commissioning income from international SVODs (e.g., Netflix and Amazon Prime) increased by 87 per cent from 2017 to £280 million, accounting for 40 per cent of all international commissioning income. Including UK VOD services (BBC iPlayer, All4, ITVHub, My5), this rose to £328 million.

Share of commissioning spend by genre

Drama spend increased significantly since 2017, with over one third (35 per cent) of all external UK commissions, the highest since 2009, while entertainment retained the second highest share of commissioning spend (25 per cent). Dramas driving this increase include Bodyguard, The Cry and Line of Duty.

Share of commissioning spend by company size

The BBC continues to commission a greater share from smallest companies compared to other PSBs (8 per cent of its spend was with companies with less than £1 million turnover), with ITV (55 per cent), Channel 5 (53 per cent) and Channel 4 (50 per cent) commissioning from the largest producers (companies with more than £70 million turnover).

“These figures show that despite the challenges that indies face domestically, there is still a huge international market looking for quality British content,” noted Pact Chair, Sara Geater.

“Indies large and small should make use of Pact’s fantastic resources, such as the Export Accelerator, to ensure they are taking advantage of all of the international opportunities available to them.”


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