The latest census commissioned by UK producers association Pact shows that growth in overseas activity and international sales of UK programs, plus a recovering domestic commissioning market have added up to a total sector income just under £2.8 billion for 2012.
According to the annual survey, conducted by Oliver & Olhbaum Associates, sector revenues rose in 2012 by 16.5%. International revenues grew by 8% in 2012, which account for 30% of total sector revenues. Revenues from international subsidiaries, meanwhile, and overseas commissioning grew by £18 million, an increase of 3% over 2011 numbers, and revenue from sales of UK programming continued to grow at 28% year-on-year, from £119 million to £152 million.
The report also shows that UK primary commissioning revenue has recovered following the declines of previous studies, with more broadcasters spending on original output and leading commissioners increasing investment. Distribution of commissioning spend has shifted to smaller indies, according to the report, with BBC and Channel 4 commissioning being the main drivers of that trend.
Overall UK-derived rights revenue grew to an estimated £336 million in 2012, up 18% over the previous year and marking a sixth year of consecutive growth.
However, overall sector net margins fell for the second year in a row, from 6.7% in 2011 to 5% in 2012. Also, non-TV revenues, while remaining consistent, show no signs of growth, indicating that new media investment in the UK content industry is more likely to be directed to sector specialists instead of the TV producers reached via the survey.
“There are encouraging findings in the new Pact census, especially in the rebalancing of revenue sources for indies,” said John McVay, chief executive of Pact, in a statement. “Companies have been smart to embrace international markets, but domestic investment in indies’ content is vital.
“The top line figures show strong growth and there are success stories for many indies. But it remains a tough and competitive market and there is no room for complacency in the independent productions sector.”
To read the full report, click here.