International Revenues Boost U.K. TV Production Sector


International revenues for the U.K. TV production sector grew by 5.3 percent in the past year and have tripled in the past eight years, according to the Pact 2016 Census.

From 2015 to 2016, international commissions grew from £430 million ($557 million) to £468 million ($606 million), driven, in part, by commissions from standalone digital services such as Netflix, which commissioned The Crown, War Machine and a new season of Black Mirror in 2015-16.

The international sale of U.K. finished programs also saw particularly high growth, with an increase of 166 percent since 2008. Notably, programs such as Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Midsummer Murders have found large followings overseas.

Overall TV production sector revenues remained relatively flat at £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion), a decrease of 2.9 percent compared with the prior year. This was due to falling U.K. commissioning revenues and U.K. rights income from public service broadcasters (PSBs). U.K. commissioning spend was down to £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion), the lowest since 2011, while commissioning revenues from non-PSBs increased by 13 percent from 2015 to 2016. Non-PSBs also spent a higher proportion of their commissioning spend on new commissions, with 61 percent compared with 39 percent on returning series. This compares to ITV, which spent 19 percent on new commissions in 2016, Channel 5 with 26 percent and BBC and Channel 4 with 32 percent.

The proportion of spend on different genres has changed considerably since 2008, with spending on drama nearly halving in value—24 percent of spend in 2016 compared with 41 percent in 2008. In comparison, spend on factual entertainment has nearly doubled—13 percent of spend in 2008 compared with 24 percent in 2016.