- Global sales of British TV programs return to growth, hitting record levels according to a new report from the UK’s Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.
- Drama continued to make up the majority of international sales of UK TV — with “The Tourist” and “Vigil” among the most popular titles.
- A significant share of revenues through co-production (90%) and international productions (56%) continues to come from North America, the report found.
The Tourist, Vigil and The Green Planet were just some of the hit shows Americans lapped up last year as the US continues to be the UK’s biggest TV export market. Sales of TV shows made in Britain generated $620 million (£510 million) or 34% of all UK TV output in 2020-2021, according to the latest end-of-year figures from independent production company consortium, the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.
Total UK TV exports grew by 7% year-on-year to reach a record $1.84 million (£1,521 million), and by 3% compared with 2019-2020 levels.
Australia (£118 million), France (£93 million), Canada (£92 million) and the Nordics region (£92 million) completed the top five. Exports to Germany, The Netherlands and Italy all grew by more than 40% year-on-year.
A significant share of revenues through co-production (90%) and international productions (56%) continues to come from North America, the report found.
The US was also ranked number one by producers as the territory they think has most growth potential, followed by China and India.
“After a period of huge uncertainty during the pandemic, it’s great to see TV exports bouncing back not only to pre-pandemic levels, but to an all-time high,” said Pact CEO John McVay. “This growth reinforces the UK’s reputation as world class producers of quality TV shows enjoyed by millions of people around the world.”
Drama continued to make up the majority of international sales but did see a small decline from 53% to 46%. Entertainment shows — such as Love Island and Masterchef — drove an increase from 15% to 24%.
Finished program sales continue to be the largest contributor to all TV export revenue (64%), with international productions (14%) and formats (12%) taking the next largest share.
HBO Max, Amazon and Netflix have acquired at least one program from over 60% of Pact’s respondents, up significantly from last year.
Compared with last year, more respondents are highlighting the issues around the increased cost of productions and the lack of financing support from commissioners. Ninety-two percent of respondents cited increased costs of productions as something that will impact the distribution of UK content in the next 12 months, compared to 69% last year, while 85% of respondents mentioned a lack of financing support from commissioners, up from 44% last year.
Louise Pedersen, CEO, All3Media International, said: “These strong figures confirm the resilience and dynamism of the UK TV Exports sector. It’s encouraging to see growth in various markets and the increasing importance of AVOD and FAST revenues which we expect to continue into next year. There are challenges around increasing production costs and some restructuring at US studios and we will be watching how these changes impact the sector over the coming months.”
Rebecca Glashow, CEO, Global Distribution, BBC Studios, said: “These figures show just how much British television is loved by audiences around the world and we are proud to work with our partners to bring them shows from Gentleman Jack to This Is Going to Hurt; Universe to The Green Planet.”
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