U.K. TV sector reaps record exports

Overseas markets generate $643 million

Revenue from international sales and production of TV shows in overseas markets by U.K. shingles reached an all-time high of £391 million ($643 million) last year.

This is according to a report commissioned by lobby group Pact, which represents Blighty’s indie producers.

The U.S. was the most important market, with 24% of those surveyed saying they had won a Stateside commission in the past year.

“As well as the strength of U.K. indies in driving exports of completed programs, the data confirms the success of U.K. independents in producing new shows in the U.S. market,” said Pact CEO John McVay. “The independent sector is starting to produce globally successful companies.”The report said $312 million was invested in U.K. program production by the independent production sector.

But it was not all good news for the shingles. Overall revenue grew “modestly” by 1.1% last year following years of strong growth. And average margins for the sector slipped back to 8% — the same level as 2004. That was when new terms of trade between producers and broadcasters were introduced enabling shingles to retain more rights to their programs.

Pact chairman Charles Wace said, “This shows that independents are not immune to the downturn and cuts in commissioning budgets, and will need to be more competitive than ever in developing new markets.”

The Pact Policy Survey and Financial Census 2009 was carried out by media consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates.