International revenue accounted for a record £802 million ($1 billion) of the U.K.’s overall production sector total of £2.7 billion last year. New data released by producers’ trade body PACT shows international commissions, sales of finished shows such as “Midsomer Murders” and “Victoria,” and orders from Netflix and Amazon including “The Crown” and “The Grand Tour” are driving growth in the U.K.
BBC boss Tony Hall and others have warned of the threat posed by the U.S. streamers to U.K.-originated content, but the PACT data underlines their growing importance to British producers. Revenue from SVOD commissions, largely from Amazon and Netflix, was up 19% year-on-year at £150 million. Netflix has boosted its U.K. presence, with commissioners now based in London, and was the single largest contributor. Amazon is also commissioning out of the U.K. as is YouTube.
Overseas commissions revenue, which includes shows from U.K. producers for U.S. cablers, was up 13% at £549 million. Overall international revenues have doubled since 2010. Total U.K. production sector revenues have grown steadily at about 2% a year over the past decade.
PACT surveys its members to gather the financial data. There has been concern that industry-wide consolidation in the U.K. means fewer, bigger players dominate, but the new report shows a larger number of smaller producers moving up into the £25-70 million turnover bracket than ever before. The BBC and Channel 4 in particular are supporting smaller companies.
“The indie TV sector has seen impressive growth in the past decade which is being driven by international revenue, and in particular commissions from overseas companies,” said Pact chief executive John McVay. “It’s fantastic that British content is sought after around the world and that it contributes so much to the British economy.”