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U.S. and SVOD Sales Drive Bumper $1.8 Billion in British TV Exports

Sales to the U.S. and to streamers, fueled especially by the popularity of British drama, helped drive the value of U.K. television content exports to a record £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2018-19, a new report says.

The U.K. TV Exports Report, published by producers’ trade body Pact on Friday, revealed a 7% uptick in revenues generated by British fare internationally. The U.S. remains by far the biggest buyer, accounting for just under a third of the total with £444 million, down 1% year-on-year.

A changing distribution landscape has seen the streamers become key buyers. With more coming to the party and local quotas to hit, sales firms are doing more business than ever with them. More than a third of the total export revenue came from SVODs, ahead of free TV and pay TV.

There was a sharp rise, accordingly, in the value attributed to global deals with Amazon and Netflix. The £58 million figure was up 56% year-on-year.

France and Australia maintain their positions from the previous year in second and third, accounting for £115 million and £96 million respectively of the sales total. Pact said that China, India, and Latin America were the spots where British companies see the most opportunity for expansion.

More than two thirds of sales were of finished programs. In terms of formats, more than half of total revenue came from Europe. By genre, drama sales made up 48% of the total.

“It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a record year for TV exports,” said Pact chief John McVay. “The compelling stories that our creatives craft resonate beyond borders. It’s fantastic to see the success of the TV industry – and in particular drama – contributing so much to the U.K. economy.”

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