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TV production sector now worth more than £3 bn to the British economy

MUMBAI: The UK’s independent television production sector is now worth more than £3 billion to the British economy – quadruple the sector’s value only nine years ago.

An annual report published by Pact, the indie sector’s trade association, shows how the sector has grown year-on-year.

International earnings grew by 12 per cent to £939 million in 2013. This now accounts for almost a third of the sector’s total value. And revenues from domestic commissions are rising again following a flat period.

Pact says that over the past year it is clear that smaller companies are doing better, winning new commissions from Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Pact CEO John McVay said, “We must celebrate the success of our TV industry in the UK. With decades of award winning programmes produced both here and around the world, UK television is yet again showing why it is one of the leading creative industries. At the heart of that success is our independent production sector, which brings competition, innovation and entrepreneurship to the benefit of broadcasters and viewers.

“International audiences want British TV productions – commissioners know they will get the highest quality of programming when they buy British. This is a major business success story and it is testament to the talent in the UK’s indie production sector.”

Key findings in the 2014 census and survey include:

  • Overall revenues are up from £2.8 billion in 2012 to £3billon in 2013.
  • International sales are now worth £939 million – almost triple the value of international revenues in 2008.
  • UK primary commissioning of indie programming has grown by 8.4% year-on-year to £1.67 billion – the highest figure in this bracket on record.
  • Profitability is stable overall with margins improved slightly in 2013.
  • The public service broadcasters’ spend dominates primary commissioning, but multichannel commissioning (£381m) is notable with 59% year-on-year growth.
  • A larger percentage of commissioners’ spend is on content from smaller and mid-sized production companies and a smaller percentage is spent on productions from the larger indies.
  • The largest indies (£70 million+ turnover) saw a reduced percentage of spend on commissions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5; Channel 4 and Channel 5 showed the most marked percentage of increased spend on indie productions from companies with a turnover of less than £ 25 million.
  • Commissioning trends show factual entertainment is the most significant growth genre (up from 12 per cent to 17 per cent); drama is up to 31 per cent while entertainment – down to 34 per cent – remains the largest commissioned genre for indies.

Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates CEO Mark Oliver said, “It is O&O’s sixth year of conducting the Pact census. The UK’s independent production sector has again this year improved upon its recent and consistent strong medium-term growth performance both in the UK and overseas.

“Building on last year’s recovery in UK commissions, in addition to PSB investment there are continued encouraging signs of significant contribution to new commissioning from the multichannel sector.

“Overseas markets delivered significant incremental revenue growth as international broadcasters continue to look to the UK’s indie sector. There are positive signs of growth in non-TV driven by new media activities with more smaller specialised companies coming through in this year’s census.”