It has been an impressive year for UK television exports, with sales to international markets in 2015/16 rising to £1,326m, a 10% increase from £1,205m in 2014/15.
The latest UK Television Exports Report also shows a sizeable increase in activity in the Chinese market, which is up 40% on 2014/15. A co-production treaty between the UK and China signed in December 2016 means that this figure could be set to rise even more in years to come.
The USA remains the UK’s largest export market, and sales increased by 16% in 2015/16 to £497m. Australia is the second largest market, with sales of £106m.
Exports of finished television programming remained the largest source of revenue at £668m, in line with 2014/15. However, sales of Digital Rights increased 79% to £248m (almost a fifth of total revenue) making it the second largest source of TV revenue.
Mark Garnier, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for International Trade (DIT) and author of the report’s foreword said: “From The Night Manager to Downton Abbey, UK TV exports continue to go from strength to strength and UK programmes are some of the most recognisable and eagerly anticipated in the world. British innovation and creativity are considered among the greatest assets of the sector and this report shows that there is important future growth potential supported, in part, by funding from the Department for International Trade. From small creative digital and animation companies to major production houses, the UK leads the world in television production and I look forward to continuing to work with the sector to grow UK exports”.
Economic and political uncertainty
Economic and political uncertainty, particularly in Europe, was seen by respondents to the report as one of the obstacles to further growth next year. Currently, Europe is the biggest market for sales of formats, and exports to France grew 5% to £73m in 2015/16, making it Britain’s biggest non-English speaking market and its third biggest overall.
However, respondents remained confident that TV export revenues would increase next year from further sales in both established markets such as the USA and newer markets in territories such as Asia, Latin America and Russia.
Pact CEO John McVay commented: “UK television content continues to be highly sought after around the world. The impressive level of year-on-year growth demonstrates that the sector is embracing the challenges of the global marketplace and is adept at exploiting new opportunities. However, with Brexit on the horizon, continued support from the government will be crucial if we are to ensure that UK companies can carry on punching above their weight on the world stage”.
Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “As the world finds more ways to watch great British shows, our content is riding a wave of popularity. The growing appeal of authored British drama in the U.S. and the hunger for titles that speak to a young, upmarket audience in China has put the UK in the premier league of international TV distribution”.
Ruth Berry, Managing Director, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “Our industry is changing rapidly and that evolution has brought opportunity for UK producers. We're working with an ever growing number of broadcasters and OTT providers in all regions, often partnering with multiple broadcasters across territories to green-light a show.
“And as the report lays out, China continues to present interesting opportunities. Last year we announced that China's CCTV has acquired Thunderbirds Are Go and more recently we signed a deal with Huace Film & TV to produce a Chinese version of an existing ITV Studios scripted format”.
Other key findings in the report include:
- North America represented 41% of total export revenue in 2015/16, with Europe contributing 31% and Rest of World contributing 29%.
- Revenue from Japan represented the greatest percentage increase from last year, rising +48% to £15m.
- India and South Korea also registered sizeable percentage increases at +43% and +39% respectively.
- For the first year the survey collected data on pan-territory deals. Collectively these provided revenue of £26m equating to 2% of the total exports.
- Investment in premium content for scripted and non-scripted programmes was believed to be central to future export growth, with respondents reporting global sales for a number of such titles.
- This year’s survey highlighted the increasing importance of digital rights particularly on SVOD platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. Respondents believe that there is further opportunity for growth from this area.
Download the full report:TV Exports Report 15-16
For any queries, please contact Pact's Head of Communications Amber Vassiliou: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07900 789129.