In the era of peak TV, UK TV exports have reached a record high of £1.4bn in 2018/2019, according to new research from producers’ group Pact. Hits included Bodyguard, Killing Eve, Love Island and Planet Earth II.
The TV Exports Report reveals this volume is up 7% from 2017/2018.
TV sales were led by high-end drama – shows such as Bodyguard or Killing Eve – at 48%, followed by non-scripted factual (such as Planet Earth II) at 23% and entertainment (including Love Island) at 15%.
The US remained the biggest market for UK export revenue at £444m, with North America in total representing 38% of all sales.
France (at £115m) and Australia (at £96m) maintained their positions in the top three biggest export markets.
The Nordics (£85m) and Worldwide Pan-Territory (£58m) showed the most accelerated growth.
A number of UK distributors are selling global deals to SVoD players including Netflix and Amazon and revenue generation from pan-worldwide deals has increased by £21m (+56%) in the past year.
Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and Latin America also showed strong growth, with 28% and 29% revenue increases from the previous year.
Also, North America (principally the US) was a key partner for co-productions (£81m) and international production revenue (£123m) – generated by the overseas production arms of UK companies.
Europe maintained its position as the primary destination for formats (such as Gogglebox and Bake Off), with £47m in each of the past two years. The sale of formats to the US doubled from £9m to £20m in the past year. Exports of finished programmes globally remained high, with 69% of total sales.
India, China and Latin America are the territories where UK companies felt there might be the best opportunities for expansion in coming years – each showing strong revenue growth in the past three years.
Pact Chief Executive John McVay said: “It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a record year for TV exports. 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 UK economy.”
Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, who is attending a Pact industry roundtable in Leeds today, said: “British TV and film exports have had another blockbuster year, with these new figures showing the incredible overseas demand for the UK’s cultural exports. The USA remains the biggest market for our world-beating TV and film industry, and once we leave the EU we will negotiate an ambitious new free trade agreement with the States to ensure even more of our industries can benefit from this golden opportunity to improve our trading relationship.”
The report was produced for Pact by 3Vision with funding from the UK’s Department for International Trade, BBC Studios and ITV Studios.