International growth drives UK TV production sector to record year


International growth helped drive the UK’s independent TV production sector to record takings of £3.3 billion in 2019, the industry’s trade association said.

International revenue streams reached £1.25 billion – a 30% increase on 2018, according to the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact).

Pact’s annual census revealed commissions from international linear TV services rose by £226 million in 2019, accounting for the majority of growth.

Additionally, revenue generated by commissions from subscription video on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime grew again, reaching £337 million.

Domestic revenues also reached a new high of £1.94 billion, a 3% increase on 2018.

The figures do not record the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Pact chief executive John McVay said: “It was only a matter of time for international revenues to break £1 billion.

“The creativity and talent that the UK indie sector has to offer is world class and British programming has true global appeal.

“Despite the obvious challenges that the sector has faced this year, I am confident that UK indies will weather the storm and continue this international success story.”

Television viewing apps stock
Television viewing apps stock

Sara Geater, Pact chairwoman and All3Media chief operating officer, said: “These record revenues show very clearly that the indie sector has had huge success in 2019, reflecting the importance of our independent TV production sector to the international market.

“We can look forward to the production levels from UK indies returning to meet the global demand for the high quality, original content that audiences around the world love.”

The census, which details the characteristics and evolution of the UK television production landscape, also reveals spending on drama and entertainment continued to increase in 2019.

Drama accounted for 40% of all UK primary commissioning spend in 2019 – an increase of five percentage points on the previous year.

Smaller producers continued to make up the bulk of the UK sector (42%) although there has been an increase in medium-sized producers since 2018.

Across the networks, Channel 5 spent the highest proportion of its commissioning budget with smaller producers.

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