Please wait...
Please wait...

UK TV exports reach record high

UK dramas like Bodyguard have sold around the world

The UK government has pledged to support the country’s TV and film industry post-Brexit after TV exports reached a record £1.4bn (US$1.8bn) in 2018/19, according to UK producers’ trade body Pact.

Pact’s latest TV Exports Report found that dramas such as the BBC’s Bodyguard dominated TV sales, accounting for 48% of the total, followed by non-scripted factual such as Planet Earth II (23%) and entertainment hits like Love Island (15%).

The report’s findings show an increase of 7% on 2017/8’s returns, with sales to the Nordics (£85m) and worldwide pan-territory (£58m) deals growing the fastest.

A number of UK distributors are doing global deals with SVoD players including Netflix and Amazon, helping revenue generation from pan-worldwide deals to increase by 56%, or £21m, in the past year.

The US remains the biggest contributor to UK export revenue (£444m), with North America in total representing 38% of all sales. France (£115m) and Australia (£96m) maintained their positions as the UK’s second and third biggest export markets respectively.

Pact’s report was produced by 3Vision with funding partners the Department for International Trade, BBC Studios and ITV Studios. Its publication coincides with an industry roundtable at Pact’s Leeds office today, attended by secretary of state for international trade Liz Truss.

Earlier this month, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that the country’s thriving film and TV sector helped prevent a potential pre-Brexit recession and pushed the economy into the black this summer.

John McVay

Commenting on the Pact report, Truss said: “British TV and film exports have had another blockbuster year, with these new figures showing the incredible overseas demand for the UK’s cultural exports.

“The US remains the biggest market for our world-beating TV and film industry, and once we leave the EU we will negotiate an ambitious new free trade agreement with the States to ensure even more of our industries can benefit from this golden opportunity to improve our trading relationship. This sector is hugely important to our economy and we are working hard to ensure its continued success.”

Elsewhere, exports to MENA and Latin America showed strong growth, with 28% and 29% revenue increases respectively on the previous year.

North America, principally the US, is an important partner for coproductions (£81m) and international production revenue (£123m) in the form of revenue generated by the overseas production arms of UK companies.

Europe maintained its position as the primary destination for UK formats, with £47m in formats revenues in each of the past two years, while revenues from formats sold into the US more than doubled from £9m to £20m in the past year. Global exports of finished programmes remained high, accounting for 69% of total sales.

Looking to the future, India, China and Latin America were identified as territories where UK companies felt there may be the best opportunities for expansion, according to Pact. Each of these markets have shown strong revenue growth in the past three years, Pact added.

Pact CEO John McVay said: “It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a record year for TV exports. The compelling stories that our creatives craft resonate beyond borders. It’s fantastic to see the success of the TV industry – and, in particular, drama – contributing so much to the UK economy.”

Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution at BBC Studios, said: “More than ever, British television is internationally recognised as world class. The quality of work our programme makers are producing is second to none and it’s an absolute privilege to take their output to audiences across the globe.”

ITV Studios Global Entertainment MD Ruth Berry added: “We are delighted to see that UK exports are at an all-time high and going from strength to strength.”

Berry highlighted the success of shows such as World on Fire and Magical Land of Oz, which will air in 120 and 125 territories respectively, and The War of the Worlds, which has been sold to more than 220 territories ahead of being broadcast in the UK.

Please wait...