Pact Census: Post-Covid Boom for U.K. TV Sector


U.K. TV sector revenues grew by 21.3 percent to reach a record of £3.9 billion ($4.9 billion) in 2022, according to the 2023 Pact Census, boosted by international gains and an increase in streaming commissions.

Domestic revenues hit their highest-ever level, of £2.2 billion ($2.7 billion), reflecting modest growth. International, meanwhile, grew by 70 percent to £1.6 billion ($2.02 billion), a marked turnaround after two years of decline.

Streaming commissioning powered the 2022 gains for the U.K. indie content sector. Within the U.K., digital commissioning grew to £155 million ($193.7 million), more than twice the 2021 figure, as U.K. broadcasters placed greater emphasis on their VOD services. International platforms also ramped up their U.K. commissions, powering a 133 percent gain to £696 million ($870.2 million).

Pact reports that overall commissioning revenues were up by almost 29 percent to £3.3 billion ($4.1 billion). U.K. primary commissions were up 4.7 percent to a record £2 billion ($2.5 billion), while primary international commissions almost doubled to a new high of £1.3 billion ($1.65 billion). Meanwhile, secondary rights revenues slipped to £407 million ($509 million).

The Pact Census shows that the U.K. indie sector benefited from an increase in both PSB and multichannel commissioning spend, up 4.4 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

By genre, drama remains key, rising to take a 37 percent share of all U.K. spending in 2022, a 2 percent gain on 2021 but still below the 40 percent peak in 2019. Factual entertainment showed the biggest decline, falling by 6 percent to a 14 percent share.

By platform, the BBC took a whopping 41 percent share of new commissioning spend, up from 27 percent the year prior.

Pact CEO John McVay said: “It’s a sign of confidence in the U.K. market that international buyers invested in British producers and great British content. However, 2022 is likely to be an exceptional year due to the recovery from the pandemic and the commissioning boom. With the cost-of-living crisis, the situation with Ukraine, rising inflation—we recognize that 2023 so far has been a much tougher year and this is likely to be reflected in next year’s Census. Additionally, the Census shows an increase in domestic spend illustrating how over-commissioning by U.K. broadcasters has contributed to a difficult 2023 with people out of work for long periods of time.”