UK TV exports grew 10% in 2015/16 to hit £1.33 billion (US $1.66 billion), according to the annual UK TV Exports Report from PactUK, BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios.
Export sales increased 16% (£497m) to the U.S., which remains Britain’s largest export market. Australia is the UK’s second-largest export market, with sales of £106m, the report states.
The report further notes sizable growth in the Chinese market, which is up 40% from 2014/15. In December 2016, a co-production treaty was signed between the UK and China, meaning that figure could continue to rise in coming years.
In other Asian markets, revenue from Japan saw the greatest percentage increase from last year, rising 48% to £15m, with India and China showing sizable growth, increasing 43% and 39%, respectively.
Exports of finished television programming remain the largest source of revenue at £668m, in line with 2014/15 results. However, sales of digital rights increased 79% to £248m — almost a fifth of total revenue — making it the second largest source of TV revenue.
More report highlights:
- North America represented 41% of total export revenue in 2015/16, with Europe at 31% and the rest of the world contributing 29%.
- Pan-territorial deals collectively provided £26m of revenue, equating to 2% of the total exports. It was the first time the survey collected data on such deals.
- Investment in premium content for unscripted and non-scripted program would be central to the future of export growth, with respondents reporting global sales for various titles.
- Top non-scripted series exported to territories included American Pickers, Top Gear, The X Factor and River Monsters Repacks and Specials (pictured).
The increasing importance of digital rights, particularly SVOD platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, was also highlighted as a potential area for future growth in opportunities.
UK TV exports continue to grow in strength and UK programs are some of the most eagerly anticipated and recognized in the world, said Mark Garnier, parliamentary under-secretary of state, Department for International Trade (DIT), and author of the report’s foreword.
“British innovation and creativity are considered among the greatest assets of the sector and this report shows that there is important future growth potential supported, in part, by funding from the Department for International Trade. From small creative digital and animation companies to major production houses, the UK leads the world in television production and I look forward to continuing to work with the sector to grow UK exports,” Garnier said.
The report also tackled potential obstables to growth, citing, in particular, economic and political uncertainty, especially in Europe. Respondents, however, said they remained confident that TV export revenues will increase from further sales in both established markets like the U.S., and emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America and Russia.
Currently, Europe is the biggest market for sales of formats, and exports to France grew 5% to £73m in 2015/16, making it Britain’s biggest non-English speaking market and its third biggest overall.
In a public LinkedIn post, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, director of international development at Pact & UK TV’s Global Ambassador, said when she attended the Realscreen Summit in Washington D.C. last week, she noticed more UK companies were spending time in the U.S. or opening up a second office in North America due to the demand for UK creativity.
The annual report spotlights the popularity of UK programming by collecting revenue figures relating to the international activity of UK television companies. It covers the period April 2015 to March 2016 and compares results with the previous year.