A dramatic increase in SVOD commissioning spend, coupled with a spike in international sales has propelled revenues for the UK independent television production sector to their highest amount to date — more than £ 3 billion —according to the latest census conducted by production industry trade org Pact.
The survey found that revenues for the UK’s indie TV production sector rose to £3.004 million in 2018, up by more than 40% over the course of the last decade, and an increase of 10% over 2017.
International revenue grew by 20%, to £962 million, driven by a 28% increase in primary international commission revenues of £704 million last year. Domestic TV revenues also increased by 3%, at just shy of £1.9 billion, but remain more or less flat compared with numbers since 2008. According to Pact, this is due to commissioning spend from public service broadcasters (PSBs) falling annually, while the commissioning money from multichannel operators offsets those losses. Multichannel spend was up £62 million to £321 million in 2018, and has more than doubled since 2008.
Meanwhile, the SVOD revolution continues to be a boon for the sector, with commissioning revenues from international streamers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime among others rising 87% from 2017 to £280 million, accounting for 40% of all international commissioning income. Factoring in UK services such as BBC iPlayer, All4, ITVHub and My5, the amount rises to £328 million.
The commissioning spend by genre sees drama take the top spot, with over one-third of external UK commissions, or 35%, in that space. Entertainment generated the second highest share, at 25%. Factual entertainment and entertainment account for nearly 50% of all external commissioning spend in the UK, according to the census results.
In terms of the companies getting the business and who they’re getting it from, the BBC continues to commission a greater share with smaller companies, while ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 4 send the majority of their commissioning dollars to larger production outfits, or companies with more than £70 million turnover. The BBC continues to have the largest share of spending on new commissions of the PSBs.
“These figures show that despite the challenges that indies face domestically, there is still a huge international market looking for quality British content,” said Pact chair Sara Geater (pictured) in a statement.