Revenues from major digital streamers are helping the UK production sector cement its position as a world leader in exporting high-quality programs worldwide, according to a new report from UK independent producers’ association Pact.
The TV Exports report – produced in partnership with BBC Studios, ITV Studios and the Department for International Trade – showed that the UK performed strongly in sales of TV content in 2016/17, with overall estimated total revenues of US$1.2 billion (£902 million).
The U.S. served as the UK’s largest export market, where sales for 2016/17 were $442 million, followed closely behind by Australia ($96 million) and France ($79 million). France served as the UK’s largest non-English speaking partner.
North America represented the largest share of total revenue, at 40%, with Europe at 33% and 27% contributed by the rest of the world.
Streaming companies such as Amazon and Netflix spent $297 million on UK content, accounting for a quarter of sales in 2016/17.
Leading the charge were programs in the entertainment genre, which accounted for $58 million in sales as the biggest-selling genre as a whole. Factual, at $57 million, and kids programming,l at $50 million, followed.
The top exporting series were dramas, led by strong sales from high quality dramas The Crown and Luther. Following closely behind were documentaries and natural history — the latter being boosted by the popularity of Planet Earth II (pictured), which was sold in 233 territories worldwide.
Finalized television programming, meanwhile, served as the largest source of revenue, raking in a total of $532 million and representing 45% of total revenue.
Sales of finished TV programming made up a smaller share of total revenue from North America, compared to both Europe and the rest of the world. North America, however, contributes the majority of revenue across DVD, digital rights, copro and production, while Europe serves as the leading market for formats.
Licensing and miscellaneous content brought in the smallest proportion of revenue at 3%, or $30 million.
“The new-look report shows that the UK continues to provide world class programming across a range of genres and indies are taking advantage of the opportunities that streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix have to offer,” Pact CEO John McVay said in a statement.
“As the world’s biggest exporter of British television, from both the BBC and UK indies, we were encouraged to see good growth in 2016/17 on the back of strong global demand for British dramas… as well as our world leading entertainment, factual entertainment and natural history,” added Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Studios.