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Report: UK TV exports reach record high

October 25, 2019

The latest Pact UK TV Exports Report shows that TV exports reached a record high of £1.4 billion (€1.62bn) in 2018/9, an increase of 7 per cent on 2017/18.

The report’s publication coincides with an industry roundtable at independent producer trade body Pact’s Leeds office attended by Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, who is in the city to announce a package of export contracts from Yorkshire-based firms worth over £30 million.

“British TV and film exports have had another blockbuster year, with these new figures showing the incredible overseas demand for the UK’s cultural exports,” noted Truss. “The USA remains the biggest market for our world-beating TV and film industry, and once we leave the EU we will negotiate an ambitious new free trade agreement with the States to ensure even more of our industries can benefit from this golden opportunity to improve our trading relationship.”

The Pact TV Exports report was produced for Pact by 3Vision with funding partners Department for International Trade, BBC Studios and ITV Studios. It found that drama dominated TV sales, with 48 per cent of the total, followed by non-scripted factual with 23 per cent and entertainment with 15 per cent.

The USA remained the biggest contributor to UK export revenue (£444 million), with North America in total representing 38 per cent of all sales.

France (£115 million) and Australia (£96 million) maintained their positions in the top three biggest export markets.

The Nordics (£85 million) and Worldwide Pan-Territory (£58 million) followed and showed the most accelerated growth. A number of UK distributors are selling global deals to SVoD players including Netflix and Amazon and revenue generation from pan-worldwide deals has increased by £21 million (+56 per cent) in the past year.

MENA (Middle East & North Africa) and Latin America both showed strong growth, with 28 per cent and 29 per cent revenue increases respectively on the previous year.

North America (principally the US) is an important partner for co-productions (£81 million) and international production revenue (£123 million) – this being revenue generated by the overseas production arms of UK companies.

Europe maintained its position as the primary destination for formats, with £47 million in each of the past two years. The sale of formats to the USA doubled from £9 million to £20 million in the past year. And exports of finished programmes globally remained high, with 69 per cent of total sales.

Looking to the future, India, China and Latin America are the territories where UK companies felt there might be the best opportunities for expansion – each of these markets have shown strong revenue growth in the past three years.

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