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UK TV production sector revenues bounce back

MUMBAI: The UK’s independent television production sector is now worth just under £3 billion to the UK economy (£2.987 billion) thanks to strong international growth, according to Pact’s annual census published.

This year-on-year growth of 3.5% suggests that the decline the industry saw in 2014 is not the start of a wider industry trend.

The census of Pact member companies showed that international rights income and primary commissions from overseas broadcasters have been the main drivers of growth. International rights income grew from £93 million in 2014 to £152 million in 2015, while overseas primary commissions grew from £599m to £697 million. Overall, international TV revenues account for a 13.4% increase on 2014 and make up over a third of all revenue.

UK commissioning trends: The largest proportion of new commissions in 2015 came from multichannel groups (62% compared with 38% returning series). However, due to their bigger overall commissioning budgets, the BBC and Channel 4 still lead in overall spend on new commissions (together accounting for 61% of total spend on new commissions).

Multichannel groups and Channel 4 also placed a greater proportion of their spend with smaller producers while Channel 5 and ITV place over 50% of their total spend with the largest producers.

There was a noticeable shift in genre commissioning in 2015, with factual entertainment’s share of spend increasing by 49% year-on-year, at the expense of entertainment which decreased by 23%.

Out of London production: For the first time the census looked at regional production outside of London and found that the nations and regions play an important part in UK TV production.

The census found that over a third (39%) of UK commission spend was placed out of London, mainly by the BBC and Channel 4. And 37% of direct, full time employment from the production sector was outside of the capital with the biggest regional employment hubs within the UK production sector are in Scotland and the North West.

The continued need for location shoots and the introduction of tax credits are likely to have had a positive impact on regional production.

Pact CEO John McVay said, “It’s great to see that revenues have bounced back in one of the UK’s leading creative industries and that it is international growth that is driving this success. The world is watching British TV and international commissioners know that they are buying quality when they buy British”.