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BBCWW revenue slides

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) suffered a drop in revenue of nearly 7% last year but revealed it had ramped up investment in programming to over £200m (US$341.6m) for the first time.

The UK pubcaster’s commercial arm today reported headline sales of £1.04bn, down from £1.12bn the previous year, but topline profit rose marginally by 0.7% to £157.4m (US$268.7m).

BBCWW returned £173.8m to the BBC, up from £156m last year but still some way short of the £215m the organisation returned to the pubcaster in 2011/12.

The numbers continue to be dented by the ongoing effects of selling off the Lonely Planet publishing business, while currency changes, particularly in Australia, and a new revenue sharing arrangement for also hit figures.

Spending on content rose from £176.4m to £200.6m, while the organisation invested £88.9m in BBC commissioned content, a rise of nearly 20% on 2012/13.

BBCWW singled out Call The Midwife, the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor and Sherlock as some of its major sellers, with the latter being acquired in 224 territories.

The results are the first following the company’s shift from divisional to geographical lines, with BBCWW North America recording a profit of £55.2m, down 5.2% on the previous year.

Digital sales were up by more than a third while ratings for BBC America rose 13.5%, with drama Orphan Black receiving special mention.

Currency changes hit sales and profits in Australia and New Zealand, with headline sales down 42.7% at £70.6m and profits falling 30% to £12.4m, with the drop blamed on the disposal of the Lonely Planet business and the effect of foreign exchange.

Australia will become the first country to receive BBCWW’s new brand BBC First, after a deal was agreed with pay TV platform Foxtel.

Elsewhere, Global Markets, made up of BBCWW’s operations in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Western Europe, saw sales rise to nearly £280m, with Dancing with the Stars and crime drama Sherlock performing well.

BBCWW claimed the show’s third season pulled in more than 67 million hits on Chineses VoD service YouKu.

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