People/Biz

UK indie sector rebounds from 2014 slump: Pact survey

International growth has helped the British TV production revenues bounce back from a decline two years ago. The UK indie producers association Pact reports in its annual census that the sector ...
November 10, 2016

International growth has helped the British TV production revenues bounce back from a decline two years ago.

The UK indie producers association Pact reports in its annual census that the sector is worth just under £3 billion (US$3.7 billion), with international rights income and primary commissions from global networks driving year-on-year growth of 3.5%.

According to the survey, international rights income was up from £93 million ($116 million) in 2014 to £152 million ($189 million) in 2015, while international primary commissions jumped from £599 million ($747 million) to £697 million ($869 million).

In all, international TV revenues drove a 13.4% increase over 2014 and comprise more than a third of all revenue.

These numbers suggest “the decline the industry saw in 2014 is not the start of a wider industry trend,” Pact said in a statement.

“It’s great to see that revenues have bounced back in one of the UK’s leading creative industries and that it is international growth that is driving this success,” said Pact chief executive John McVay (pictured) in a statement.

Last year, the bulk of the UK indie sector’s new commissions came from multichannel groups (62% compared with 38% returning series), but pubcasters BBC and Channel 4 still spent the most on new commissions, accounting for 61% of total spend on new programs.

Multichannel groups and Channel 4 also spent more with smaller producers while other UK nets Channel 5 and ITV placed more than 50% of their total spend with the largest producers.

“There was a noticeable shift in genre commissioning in 2015, with factual entertainment’s share of spend increasing by 49% year-on-year, at the expense of entertainment which decreased by 23%,” Pact said.

Pact’s annual census also surveyed regional producers in the UK for the first time and found that more than a third of UK commission spend – 39% – was outside of London. That work mainly came from BBC and Channel 4.

The biggest regional production hubs in the UK are Scotland and the North West, which likely benefited from location shooting and tax credits, the industry group said.

Earlier this week, All3Media COO Sara Geater was named chair of Pact Council, effective January. She is to replace Outline Productions CEO Laura Mansfield, after being nominated for the post in the organization’s recent elections process.

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About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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