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Scripted dramas drove U.K. TV exports to a record £1.48 billion ($1.97 billion) in 2019/20, a 6% year-on-year increase, according to a report from producers’ trade body Pact.
Dramas like “Chernobyl,” “His Dark Materials,” “The War of the Worlds,” “The Feed” and “Doctor Who,” produced by U.K. companies, were the key export drivers and accounted for 48% of all revenue. Factual programming, including “Seven Worlds,” “One Planet” and “The Planets,” increased its share from 23% to 28% year-on-year.
The U.S. continues to be the most important market for U.K. exports contributing 32%, or £466 million ($622.5 million) of all revenue in the 2019/20 financial year, an increase of £22 million ($29.3 million) year-on-year, the report states. France, with £102 million ($136.3 million) and Australia with £98 million ($131 million) complete the top three markets for U.K. TV exports.
China was identified last year as a market with growth potential and revenues out of the territory increased by 25% to £40 million (53.4 million).
Looking ahead to 2020/21, China and Latin America are again predicted to offer opportunities as well as expected continued growth in the U.S.
Sales of finished TV programming remained the largest source of income, with 70% of the total. Sales this year crossed £1 billion ($1.33 billion) for the first time, an increase of 7% year-on-year, the report said.
Total revenue from the sale of formats increased by 39% to £119 million ($159 million) with 51% of sales to Europe. Sales of co-productions also increased by 6% to £133 million ($177.7 million) with North America, at 88%, the largest buyer.
Library sales of content aged more than four years accounted for 22% of revenues this year, compared to 38% last year. With production after March 2020 affected due to the coronavirus pandemic, there could be an increased contribution from library sales in the next financial year, with feedback from U.K. distributors highlighting increased demand already, the report notes.
Pact CEO John McVay, said: “British TV content — and in particular drama — continues to be attractive to a global audience. The quality of U.K. production is admired around the world and this is evident from these record figures.”
“Despite the pandemic, Pact has been working hard to ensure that its members are able to continue to meet with and showcase their work to international buyers, through its ‘Content Without Borders’ events and our ongoing support of markets such as MIPCOM and Realscreen,” McVay added.
Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution for BBC Studios, said: “We’re very proud to spearhead the ongoing success of great British shows internationally. The work of our producers continues to inspire and delight audiences all around the world.”
Ruth Berry, managing director of global distribution for ITV Studios, added: “It’s fantastic to see the global appetite for British television continuing, and not surprisingly given the amazing talent we have in the U.K. creating such impressive shows. This year has seen viewers across the world discovering both new and existing content, and our extensive catalogue has come into its own as partners have sought a wide range of programming to offer their audiences.”
The Pact TV Exports report was produced for Pact by 3Vision, with the Department for International Trade serving as funding partner. The report covers the period of April 2019 to March 2020.