UK indie sector reports 34% growth in exports

The annual UK production sector census from trade association Pact reveals that although the domestic market was flat in 2010, demand for UK-produced content overseas kept the region's indie sector busy.
August 22, 2011

The annual census from UK content producer trade association Pact reveals that although its domestic market was flat in 2010, demand for UK-produced content overseas kept the region’s indie sector busy.

The survey shows that international revenues grew by 34% in 2010, to £590 million (approximately US$971.8 million) and now account for 25% of total sector revenues.

Also, international sales of UK-made finished programs rose from £70 million (US$115.3 million) to £87 million (US$143.3 million), and primary international commissions for overseas broadcasters rose considerably, from £296 million (US$487.4 million) to £400 million (US$658.7 million).

Indie prodcos kicked in approximately £200 million to finance programs in 2010. As for spending from broadcasters, the census shows that spending among the four main public service broadcasters (PSBs) looked more or less flat – Channel 4 and ITV increased their spending on new commissions, while Channel 5 saw a marked decrease in new commissions from the last census – from 43% to 18%. The BBC also decreased its spend, although not as drastically as Channel 5.

“The UK indie sector has once again proved itself adept at finding and exploiting new opportunities and overseas markets so that it can continue to deliver growth despite a flat domestic market for content,” said Pact chief executive John McVay, commenting on the findings.

“This growth in exports underlines the ongoing importance of the Terms of Trade in ensuring that there is a competitive market for UK IP rights that enables a range of players to maximize the value of those rights through their exploitation at home and around the world.”

The Pact financial census was conducted between April and June 2011, with the data gathered representing the last two financial years – 2009 and 2010. The Pact 2011 Census is produced by Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.