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Drama pushes UK exports to $1.98bn

Dramas including Chernobyl led UK export sales

UK television exports rose  to £1.48bn (US$1.98bn) in the 2019/20 financial year, according to the annual report by UK production association Pact.

Drama, including Chernobyl, His Dark Materials, The War of The Worlds, The Feed and Doctor Who, was the key export driver for UK companies and accounted for 48% of all revenue.

Factual programming, such as Seven Worlds, One Planet and The Planets, increased its share from 23% to 28% year-on-year.

Last year’s total exports amounted to £1.4bn. The US continues to be the biggest market for the UK, contributing 32% (£466m) of all revenue in the 2019/20 financial year, an increase of £22m on the previous year.

France (£102m) and Australia (£98m) complete the top three markets. China was identified last year as a market with growth potential and revenues there increased by 25% to £40m.

Looking ahead to 2020/21, China and Latin America are again predicted to offer opportunities, while growth in the US is also expected to continue.

Sales of finished TV programming remained the largest source of income (70% of the total) and this year surpassed £1bn for the first time, an increase of 7% year-on-year.

Total revenue from the sale of formats increased by 39% to £119m, with most of those sales (51%) going to Europe. Revenue from coproductions increased by 6% to £133m, with North America the largest buyer, at 88%.

Sales of library content for those aged four-plus made up 22% of all revenues in 2019/20, up from 38% the previous year.

With production largely halted in March 2020 there may be an increased contribution from library sales in the next financial year, with UK distributors already reporting increased demand.

The Pact TV Exports report was produced for Pact by 3Vision with funding partner the Department for International Trade, and covers the period April 2019 to March 2020.


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