Research 25 OCT 2019

UK DRAMAS REACHES RECORD SALES OF USD 1,8BN DURING 2018/19

The figures were revealed in the TV export report of the British trade agency Pact, which claims that dramas such as BBC's "Bodyguard" dominated TV sales (48%), followed by unscripted events like "Planet Earth II" (23%) and entertainment hits like "Love Island" (15%).

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UK dramas such as "Bodyguard" and "Killing Eve" helped to propel the country’s TV exports to record sales of £1.4bn ($1.8bn) during 2018/19, while worldwide deals between UK companies and global SVOD’s surged by more than 50% over the same period. The figures, revealed in UK trade body Pact’s TV Exports Report, show that drama accounted for 48% of total sales over the past 12 months, with non-scripted factual series such as "Blue Earth II" pulling in 23% of revenue and entertainment shows including "Love Island" accounting for 15%. The report was funded by partners BBC Studios, ITV Studios and the UK’s department for international trade.

North America, principally the US, is an important partner for coproductions (£81m) and international production revenue (£123m) in the form of revenue generated by the overseas production arms of UK companies; Europe maintained its position as the primary destination for UK formats, with £47m in formats revenues in each of the past two years, while revenues from formats sold into the US more than doubled from £9m to £20m in the past year. Global exports of finished programmes remained high, accounting for 69% of total sales.
Elsewhere, exports to MENA and Latin America showed strong growth, with 28% and 29% revenue increases respectively on the previous year. 

Looking to the future, India, China and Latin America were identified as territories where UK companies felt there may be the best opportunities for expansion, according to Pact. Each of these markets have shown strong revenue growth in the past three years, Pact added.

Regarding the formats vs finished tape, Europe maintained its position as the primary destination for formats, 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, but European companies remained the key buyers, accounting for 55% (£47m). However, formats accounted for just 6% of UK total sales, with finished programmes securing 69%.

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