British TV Sees Record-Breaking Export Sales, Despite Pandemic

Unlike other parts of the entertainment industry, British television saw record export sales this year, nearing $2 Billion.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, UK TV exports generated a record-breaking £1.48 billion – a 6% increase since last year’s earnings, according to a Pact report published on the 23rd of November.

Dramas like ChernobylHis Dark MaterialsThe War of The WorldsThe Feed, and Doctor Who were the star of the show, accounting for 48% of all revenues, while factual programming like One Planet increased its share from 23% to 28%.

Pact CEO John McVay said:
“British TV content – and in particular drama – continues to be attractive to a global audience.”

“The quality of UK production is admired around the world and this is evident from these record figures.”

International Market

The international market remains a significant source of income, with the US representing 32% of the revenue for the year.

While France and Australia complete the top three, China’s revenues increased by a quarter, up to £40m, establishing the country as a key target in TV as much as it is in the international box office.

As we go into 2021, China and Latin America are being eyed as the most important up-and-coming markets.

Paul Dempsey (President, Global Distribution at BBC Studios) commented:
“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, said:
“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.”

Old but Gold

Library sales, or in other words TV content that is four years or older, is likely to increase its share from this year’s 22% in the next financial year, due to the halting of many productions.

The sale of finished TV shows represented 70% of total earnings, remaining the largest source of income, and surpassing a staggering £1 billion for the first time.

Words by Elisabetta Pulcini


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