BBC Worldwide Reports Slight Increase Profits

BBC's commercial arm sees profits up by 1% and headline sales up 3% thanks to titles like "Top Gear"

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the Brit pubcaster, reported a 1% rise in profit to £156 million ($236 million) for 2012/13, it revealed in its annual review.

The company grew headline sales by 3% to $1.69 billion, thanks to programs such as “Top Gear” and “Africa” and posted profit before tax, excluding gains and losses on disposals, at $188.8 million for the year, a 21% year-on-year growth.

Revenue for the company grew by 3% to $1.7 billion while the commercial arm returned $236 million to the Beeb in 2012/13, down 28% from last year.

Addtionally, BBC Worldwide invested $266 million on generating new content. A spokesperson said that as this was the first year the company has published the total investment tally, there is no comparable figure from last year.

“BBC Worldwide’s performance has remained very robust despite the economic challenges facing the media sector, with particular growth in program sales and our international channels,” said Tim Davie, chief exec of BBC Worldwide and director, global, in a statement. “2013/14 will be a transformational year for the company with a re-focused strategy that maximizes opportunities presented by new markets and technology.”

Investments in distribution rights for the commercial arm sat at $157.2 million, of which $111.8 million was into BBC commissions. $137.5 million was returned to independent rights holders through upfront rights investment, profit share and royalties.

Top selling programs this year included “Africa” (sold to 195 territories), “Top Gear USA” (sold to 174 territories, “Ripper Street” and “Parade’s End” (each sold to more than 120 territories).

The format of “The Great Bake Off” now has 13 international commissions and “Dancing with the Stars” (the international version of “Strictly Come Dancing”) has sold 46 local versions.

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