British TV exports reach record-breaking high

British TV exports reach record-breaking high

Ru Paul's Drag RaceSales of British TV shows hit a record-breaking high of £1.853 billion in 2022-23, a 22% increase on the previous year. 

More than half – 53% – of programmes were sold to international SVoDs; the first time the 50% marker has been broken after last year’s figure of 39%. 

With programmes such as Ru Paul’s Drag Race and Frozen Planet II contributing to the record high, finished programmes – including shows such as Litvinenko and This England – formed the majority of sales (60%), increasing by 11% to £1.108 billion, exceeding £1 billion for the first time. Format sales – such as The Traitors – also increased by 22% and co-production sales by 69%. 

The record was broken on exports despite half of respondents saying their business was impacted by the period of austerity and cost management that major US companies experienced.

As a result, although the US market continued to be the most important market for UK TV exports, contributing £525m (28%) of all exports, it was flat in terms of growth, not managing to return to pre-Covid numbers after its decline of 11%in 2021-22.

However, together with Canada, the North American market as a whole represented 38%, growing by 14% year on year.

European Market Growth
A number of European markets experienced growth of over 20% this year, with Spain growing by 79% to £40m, Italy increasing by 21% to £38m and Germany moving into third place behind Australia after another strong year, rising 26% in the past year to £108m.
Just outside the top ten, South Africa experienced strong growth rising 66% to £23m.

Drama leads the way
Scripted drama remained the key driver of international content sales for UK companies, representing 49% of revenue, followed by entertainment (21%) and factual (18%).

Pact CEO John McVay said: “These strong sales figures highlight yet again that UK indies continue to produce quality TV programmes that the rest of the world want to watch.

“However, we anticipate that this is likely to be an exceptional year and that next year’s report will reflect the current global financial uncertainty and rising production costs.”

Pact’s UK TV Exports Report, sponsored by Fremantle, BBC Studios, ITV Studios, All3Media International and undertaken by 3Vision, surveys over 20 UK distributors about their international sales and any challenges they have faced in the past year, as well as any they expect to come in the next 12 months.

Ru Paul’s Drag Race image via BBC. 

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