Exports of British television programmes, including popular shows such as Frozen Planet II and Top Gear, have reached record levels, according to a report by Pact, the trade body representing television producers. Sales of British TV content hit nearly £1.9 billion last year, registering a significant annual growth rate of 22 percent. Streaming services, which have gained increasing popularity worldwide, played a crucial role in driving the surge in exports.
The report found that for the first time, more than half of the TV shows sold internationally were bought by streaming and on-demand platforms, representing a notable increase from the previous year's figure of 39 percent. BBC wildlife series Frozen Planet and Serengeti, along with ITV dramas such as The Ipcress File and The Suspect, were among the most sought-after British shows. Other top-selling programmes included MasterChef, All Creatures Great and Small, Dragons' Den, and Midsomer Murders.
The total earnings of nearly £1.9 billion in the 2022/23 fiscal year are the highest since the report's inception in 2017. Of this amount, 60 percent came from completed programmes, while format sales saw a 22 percent increase, and co-production sales surged by 69 percent, indicating the diversification of revenue streams in the industry.
The United States remained the largest market for British TV shows, accounting for £525 million or 28 percent of total exports. Australia, Germany, France, the Nordics, and Canada also proved to be significant buyers. Notably, Spain experienced a remarkable 79 percent growth in purchasing British programming, reaching £40 million.
Scripted drama remained the main driver of international content sales for UK companies, contributing 49 percent of revenue. Entertainment programmes accounted for 21 percent, while factual shows made up 18 percent.
Pact's chief executive, John McVay, emphasized that the impressive sales figures underscore the global demand for high-quality British television, produced by UK indies. Rebecca Glashow of BBC Studios also acknowledged that despite market disruptions, there continues to be a strong appetite for top-notch content worldwide.
As uncertainties loom in the global landscape and production costs rise, analysts expect the upcoming report to reflect these challenges. Nevertheless, the outstanding performance of British TV exports in the 2022/23 fiscal year remains a testament to the country's ability to produce compelling programming that resonates with international audiences.