Advanced Television

BBC Studios hits £2bn in sales; Streaming dips

July 11, 2023

BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial global subsidiary, has published a record set of results as part of a summary of its strategic and financial performance for the year 2022/23.

Sales were at £2.09 billion (€2.46bn), up from £1.63 billion in 2021/22, a 28 per cent increase on the previous year. This increase was driven by growth in its global Content Studio, which fuelled BBC Studios’ catalogue, while brands like Bluey (pictured) and Dancing with the Stars and strong long-term partnerships also contributed to the year’s performance.

Profit rose 6 per cent to £240 million (2021/22: £226 million). BBC Studios is now aiming to double the size of the business again from 2021/22 to 2028.

Tom Fussell, CEO of BBC Studios, said: “I’m extremely proud of these results, which show the strength of our content driving our growth strategy. Our global Content Studio had an exceptional year, growing by nearly half and winning awards for creativity and craft across all genres, as well as covering significant national moments with distinction. Revenue held steady overall in our channels and streaming services internationally, despite ongoing external challenges posed by inflation and volatility in the advertising market, and we made further investment into production labels, and UKTV to promote and sustain future growth.

“Looking ahead, we have bold ambitions to double the business by 2028, while investing for future growth and market volatility, which will impact short term profitability.  At the same time, we are continually transforming our culture to prioritise inclusion, operate sustainably and put performance at the heart of everything we do,” added Fussell.

The global Content Studio – housing production, content sales, brands and licensing globally – grew strongly in the year, with sales up 40 per cent, and EBITDA up £46 million. Over 75 per cent of its revenues are now from third parties, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix.

Sales for Channels & Streaming held steady at £535 million. External challenges including inflation, a volatile advertising market and pressure on pay-TV subscriptions affected profits, with EBITDA down 24 per cent. In a challenging market, UKTV grew its commercial market share to a new record of 8.7 per cent.

22 FAST (free, ad-supported television) channels are now available internationally offering 6,000 episodes of content on platforms including Samsung TV Plus and Roku, while BritBox international logged three million subscribers in eight markets. Now in its first full year within BBC Studios, reached 123 million a month, with upgrades to the website and app, and key new hires to boost the business in the US.

During the last financial year, activity to underpin future growth included long term deals to bring key content to new audiences, such as the new deal for Doctor Who with Disney+ as Russell T Davies returns with a new doctor in Ncuti Gatwa. A series of investments were made into indie talent across scripted and factual, and the business made further investment into UKTV’s free streaming service UKTV Play, which added one million registered users, and increased views by 27 per cent in the year, reflecting its emphasis on growth in AVoD.

Returns to the BBC were at a record level of £362 million (21/22: £353 million), with content investment of £177 million.

BBC Studios also published its annual pay gap report, with details of pay gaps for gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+ employees broken down by career level band. It continues to make progress in reducing pay gaps across all key characteristics, with 90 per cent of staff in pay bands where the gap is within 5 per cent and women now making up 51 per cent of senior leader positions globally.

Fussell concluded: “Fairness is a key part of our culture, and though I am pleased to see we are making progress, there is still more to do here. We lead the way in transparency in this area, and we are determined to ensure that our people have every support they need to succeed. This is crucial to the success of the business.”

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