Blighty’s mighty TV

Exports up as U.S., Germany rebound

LONDON — Revenues from the export of British TV programs surged 21% to £632 million ($1.07 billion) last year, with sales to the U.S., Germany and Spain especially strong, according to figures from U.K. producers association Pact.

Coin generated by sales to the U.S. grew by 10%, while those to Germany increased by 31% and Spain 4%; these three markets all recorded decreases in 2004.

Overall the biggest hike came from sales to the rest of Western Europe — up 85% due largely to a rise in pan-European deals.

North America accounted for 40% of Blighty’s TV export revenue in 2005, Europe 34%.

The growth in the sale of TV formats and local production also remained strong, up 60% to $71.4 million.

Total global sales of U.K. programs increased 25% to $466 million.

Revenues from DVD and video sales rose 14% to $168 million. Pact claimed the figures indicate just how strong the appetite for British shows remains overseas — a point reflected earlier this month at the Mip TV trade show in Cannes, where, for the first time, more companies attended from Blighty than from any other country.

The three most popular U.K. shows globally last year were the “BAFTA Film Awards,” distributed by All3Media Intl., and two editions of the Granada Intl. wildlife documentaries “Wild Sex and Chimps — The Dark Side.”

Other British TV shows that have sold to more than 70 countries include Fremantle Intl.’s reality skeins “Jamie’s School Dinners” and “Pop Idol,” RDF’s “Rock School” and All3Media Intl.’s drama series “Midsomer Murders.”