Revenue from UK TV exports swung back to growth last year with sales to the US accounting for the biggest proportion of sales and the largest increase year-on-year.
Distribution revenues had slipped 0.6% in 2014/15, but sprung back to positive territory in 2015/16, with the £1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) total up 10% year on year.
US sales increased 16% – or US$69 million – taking the total to £497 million. As well as accounting for 41% of all export revenue, North America remained the key region for coproduction partnerships, international commissions and digital sales.
Australia is now the second most important market for UK distributors, as it brought in £106 million in sales last year.
France is the biggest non-English-speaking market for UK programming and a 5% uptick in sales took the export total to £73 million. Europe accounted for 31% of all sales and was the biggest region for UK format sales.
Several Asian territories, while recording much smaller overall contributions than the US, recorded large year-on-year increases in terms of their spend on UK-originated content. Asia and the rest of the world accounted for 29% of sales.
Revenue from Japan was up 48% at £15 million and India, China and South Korea were up 43%, 40% and 39% respectively.
“The growing appeal of authored British drama in the US and the hunger for titles that speak to a young, upmarket audience in China has put the UK in the premier league of international TV distribution,” said Paul Dempsey, president of global markets, BBC Worldwide.
With Netflix and Amazon now doing global deals and SVOD services launching in several territories, there was big increase in digital sales, with a 79% uptick taking the total to £248 million.
TRP Research conducted the annual UK Television Exports report in association with indies group Pact, BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios.
Pact CEO John McVay noted the strong growth while calling upon the UK government to support the TV sector as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The findings reveal that while there was healthy overall growth, revenue format sales slumped to £46 million from £56 million a year earlier. FremantleMedia’s The X Factor was one of a clutch of global format exports.
Scripted sales were strong with BBC Worldwide’s Sherlock, ITV Studios’ Poldark and Mr Selfridge, and All3Media’s Midsomer Murders among the top performers last year.
“From The Night Manager to Downton Abbey, UK TV exports continue to go from strength to strength,” said Mark Garnier, parliamentary under secretary of state.
“The UK is a world leader in the sales of TV content globally and revenues continue to rise. UK programmes are some of the most recognisable and eagerly anticipated in the world.”