UK drama drives record-breaking export figure to $2bn

His Dark Materials

UK dramas such as Chernobyl, His Dark Materials and The Feed have powered the country’s TV exports to a record-breaking £1.48bn ($2bn) in revenue over the past year, according to figures revealed today.

Scripted series such as ITV Studios The War Of The Worlds and BBC Studios veteran drama Doctor Who accounted for 48% of all revenue, helping to push total UK TV exports up by 6% between April 2019 and March 2020.

The results from the Pact TV Exports report – produced by 3Vision with funding partner the Department for International Trade – also found that factual programming such as Seven Worlds, One Planet and The Planets increased its share from 23% to 28% year-on-year.

China & Lat Am growth prospects

The US predictably remains the most important market for UK exporters, contributing 32% (£466m) of all revenue in the 2019/20 financial year, an increase of £22m year-on-year.

France (£102m) and Australia (£98m) complete the top three, while China – which was identified last year as a key growth market – saw revenues increase by 25% to £40m.

Pact said sales into both China and the US are expected to rise over the coming years, while exports to Latin American buyers are also predicted to offer further opportunities for distributors.

Finished tape steady as format sales flurry

Finished tape remained the largest source of income (70% of the total) and this year surpassed £1bn for the first time, an increase of 7% year-on-year, while total revenue from the sale of formats increased by 39% to £119m.

The majority (51%) of sales were to buyers in Europe, while co-production revenues also increased by 6% to £133m with North America – at 88% – the largest buyer.

Library sales (content aged 4+ years) comprised 22% of revenues this year, compared to 38% last year, but Pact noted that the effect of the pandemic would likely mean an increased contribution from library sales in the next financial year. Feedback from UK distributors had highlighted “increased demand already”, the production trade body added.

Earlier this year, Pact revealed that UK TV production revenues also hit a record high during 2019, driven largely by international commissions.

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