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Pact: Export sales show “resilient” UK TV industry

Pact reports the UK TV industry saw £1,426 million in annual global sales during 2020/21

Global sales of British TV shows dipped by 3.3 per cent this year, according to Pact’s TV Exports report, reaching a total £1,426 million for 2020/21.

The slight reduction stems from the effects of the pandemic on UK production. However, producers mined library content to plug most of the shortfall. As a result, a third of all sales came from shows over four years old, up from 22 per cent the previous year.

Other findings of the Pact report include:

  • Drama (notably I May Destroy You and It’s a Sin) accounted for 53 per cent of export revenues, an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year
  • Factual titles such as Masterchef, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Dragon’s Den retain international popularity, making up 15 per cent of TV exports
  • Sales to streaming services continue to grow, accounting for 44 per cent of all programme sales, up from 38 per cent in 2019/20
  • The US was the UK’s biggest TV export market once again, generating £574m in revenues, an increase of more than £100 million compared to last year
  • Australia ranked second with exports of almost £100 million; New Zealand also made the top ten with £23 million worth of sales

Pact CEO John McVay said: “To post such a small reduction in exports despite the effects of the pandemic on the UK TV industry is further evidence of how resourceful producers have been throughout the pandemic to not only keep their businesses afloat, but to continue to bring quality, entertaining content to audiences around the world.”

Minister for exports, Mike Freer, added: “The resilience this unique industry has shown through these extraordinarily difficult times leaves me in no doubt that it will continue to thrive in this golden era for global media.

“I am supremely confident that UK television exports will go from strength to strength in the years ahead as we build back better from the pandemic, and champion the excellence and enduring popularity of UK producers’ work around the world.”