Commissioning Boost Sees U.K. Indie TV

Biggest increase in indie revenues in past decade

Revenues for Blighty’s indie TV production sector have soared by 14% to £2.8 billion ($4.2 billion), according to a report from U.K. producers’ body Pact.

In an annual census, Pact found that the sector’s overall growth during 2012 repped the biggest annual increase for indie revenues since the body first commissioned a financial census in 2004.

It said that a key factor in this boost was down to domestic commissioners increasing investment by about $456.7 million last year, which comes after four years of spending reductions in the territory.

The domestic commissions included more spending with smaller indies by the BBC and Channel 4.

Additionally, the report found that many smaller companies have improved their profit margins and on average, indies with revenue of less than $14.9 million have improved their profitability and also have a greater share of the overall sector.

Smaller indies with revenue of less than $1.48 million, grew their share of sector revenues from 1.1% to 5%.

“Our independent sector is stronger economically than it has ever been,” said Debbie Manners, chair of Pact and m.d. of Keo Films. “Revenues are at a record high, encouraged by a U.K. broadcast ecology that is a catalyst for growth and entrepreneurialism.

“Our productions are in demand the world over, borne out by year-on-year increases in international revenues.”

Pact chief exec John McVay added: “There are encouraging findings in the new Pact census, especially in the rebalancing of revenue sources for indies. 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.”

Additional findings in the report found that primary U.K. commissions rose 19% to $2.23 billion and annual revenues grew more than $1.48 billion since 2004 while international revenues grew more than 6% to $1.1 billion.

Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates compiled the report with data from surveys of 60 indie companies.

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