The multichannel sector invested more than £623m (US$997m) into British content last year, a 31% increase on 2010, according to new research.
The Economic Impact Report, compiled by media consultancy Oliver and Ohlbaum Associates on behalf of the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), found that the multichannel business was now worth £4.2bn per year to the UK economy – employing 9,000 people directly and 47,000 indirectly.
Within the increased multichannel content spend, investment in children’s programming was up 77% on 2010 to nearly £30m a year, the report said.
COBA is the industry body for commercial sector broadcasters in the UK and its members include Discovery Networks, BSkyB, Fox International Channels, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting, UKTV and Disney.
Those members spend £2.1bn on their channels in the UK compared to £287m across the rest of Europe and many base their commissioning and channels in the UK – Discovery recently launched a London-based commissioning team led by former Channel 4 creative director Julian Bellamy.
Dee Forbes, president and MD of Discovery Networks Western Europe and COBA chair, said: “COBA’s 2012 Economic Impact Report underlines how the UK multichannel is helping create a mixed ecology for funding British television content, alongside the Public Service Broadcasters and the independent production sector.”