Sky To Increase Home-Grown Content Spend

BSkyB Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch says his company will increase its investment in original British content by over 50% over the next three years. In numeric terms, this means £600 million will be ploughed into home-grown programming by 2014 (on top of the money Sky also spends on programme acquisitions and live sports rights).

Speaking this week at an event organised by right wing think tank Reform, Darroch said there would be a 300% increase in British drama, more original comedy and a threefold increase in budget for Sky Arts. Stressing that there would be work for indie and in-house producers, he said: “Our plans will take our original entertainment to an entirely different scale. They will mean working with the best production, writing and acting talent and will require focus and creative ambition as well as sustained investment.”

The £600m figure will make Sky a bigger investor in British content than Channel 4. It also makes Sky a more potent threat to the BBC, which has long been a target for its attacks. Dealing with that issue directly, Darroch said: “For too long, our sector has suffered from the misconception that good outcomes only happen because they are ordained from above and enacted through intervention. Or that content is only worthwhile if created through subsidy or by a particular kind of institution. It’;s high time we got rid of those blinkers once and for all. If we don’;t, the potential consequences are very damaging: an unhealthy dependence on public-sector; the erosion of incentives for commercial investment; and a reduction in choice, quality and innovation for viewers.

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