BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster, posted profits of £156 million (US$235.4 million) for 2012/13, in line with the previous year’s profit of £155 million, despite headline sales increasing 3% thanks to titles such as Africa (pictured) and Top Gear.
The company grew headline sales by 3% to £1.12 billion, compared with £1.08 billion in 2011/12, and posted profit before tax, excluding gains and losses on disposals, of £125 million – up 21% on the previous year’s £104 million.
In terms of returning money to the UK pubcaster, the commercial arm returned £156 million for 2012/13 – down 28% on the prior year’s figure of £216 million.
BBCWW said this was due to last year’s returns having included a one-off £73 million dividend relating to the sale of BBC Magazines, and that this year’s returns would be up 9% were it not for said dividend.
BBCWW CEO and director for global Tim Davie said: “BBCWW’s performance has remained very robust despite the economic challenges facing the media sector, with particular growth in program sales and our international channels.
“2013/14 will be a transformational year for the company with a re-focused strategy that maximizes opportunities presented by new markets and technology. This will ensure BBCWW remains a world-class content company that inspires audiences around the world and helps build the reputation and the commercial success of the global BBC.”
In terms of investment in content, BBCWW’s annual review reported that the commercial arm invested £176 million in content in 2012/13.
Investment in distribution rights was £104 million, of which £74 million was into BBC commissions, while £91 million was returned to independent rights holders through upfront rights investment, profit share and royalties.
Top selling programs for the year included natural history title Africa, which sold to 195 territories, and Top Gear USA, which sold to 174 territories.
The format of The Great Bake Off landed 13 international commissions, while Dancing with the Stars – the international version of Strictly Come Dancing – sold 46 local versions.