U.K. Scripted Commissions Slip


Scripted commissions in the U.K. fell by 18 percent in 2023, per Ampere Analysis, with cuts across free-to-air broadcasters and SVOD, while pubcaster BBC kept its output stable.

U.K. scripted commissions were down 48 percent at local pay-TV operators, 36 percent at commercial free-to-air channels and 21 percent at the SVOD services. The BBC, however, kept its scripted commissions stable, with a focus on the kids, family and crime genres, literary adaptations and multiple-episode series orders. Indeed, the BBC increased its share of U.K. scripted TV commissions to 50 percent last year.

Children and family was an area of focus for the BBC last year, with a 23 percent year-on-year increase, with crime/thriller up 16 percent. Comedy commissioning was down 27 percent at the BBC and 41 percent overall.

Ampere also highlights an opportunity for more co-commissioning with the BBC; those accounted for 13 percent of scripted commissions at the pubcaster last year.

Zuzana Henkova, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, noted: “As media consumption patterns continue to change, commissioning strategies are evolving. While commercial operators and broadcasters adapt to pressures on consumer spend and a tough advertising landscape, public-service broadcasters have maintained their commissioning activity. This is undoubtedly one of the strengths of the public funding model. As all broadcasters look for new ways to optimize their output, we expect to see the BBC continuing to explore partnerships and co-commissioning to stretch budgets for valuable—but expensive—scripted commissions.”