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U.K. TV exports surge 23%

U.S. responsible for nearly half of the trade

LONDON — The export of U.K. TV shows is surging, with the U.S. responsible for nearly half of the trade, a report revealed Thursday.

Foreign sales of programs and formats was worth £663 million ($1.05 billion) last year, an increase of 23%, according to the annual U.K. Television Exports Survey published by government body U.K. Trade and Investment, and producers org Pact.

U.K.-centric completed shows, as opposed to entertainment formats, remain a hard sell in North America and their prevalence is a barrier to further expansion of business in the U.S., the report said.

British TV drama is regarded as being too slow paced, too gritty and lacking in glamour for auds on the other side of the Atlantic.

The report showed that licensing of U.K. formats rose 53% to $130.4 million thanks to the continuing boom in factual entertainment formats.

While the U.S. and Canada were British TV’s biggest customer, responsible for 48% of sales, with Europe contributing 31% and the rest of the world 21%, the biggest growth came from Eastern Europe, where sales soared by 46%.

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