Monday, 4 October 2010

Sales of British TV shows and formats rose to $1.34bn in 2009

"The appetite for British television shows overseas defied the recession last year with export sales up 9% year on year to smash the £1bn mark. Sales of hit UK series, such as Strictly Come Dancing, Wife Swap, Come Dine With Me, Spooks and MasterChef, to foreign broadcasters earned a record £1.34bn for the UK economy in 2009.
The annual UK TV Exports Survey, collated independently by TRP for the independent producers' trade body Pact, reveals that the biggest growth area for British programmes and formats was Australia and New Zealand for the second year – up 32% year on year to £170m.
Localised versions of shows such as Top Gear and MasterChef have proved popular down under; and MasterChef, made by Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine, set a record last year for Australia's most watched non-sport show ever.
Overall sales of formats, when a foreign TV company buys rights to a series such as Come Dine With Me and then makes the show itself, rose 25% to £119m. Meanwhile, the trend towards producing UK formats abroad – a foreign TV company buys the rights for a show but asks a UK-owned company to make a localised version – gathered pace last year with a 124% rise in revenue to £41m.
The UK television industry's main customer is still the US, where British formats including American Idol (from Pop Idol) and Dancing with the Stars – the US version of Strictly Come Dancing – continue to pull in massive audiences. Transatlantic sales accounted for 36% of total export revenue, with a 3% growth in revenue to £485m. The overall North American market is worth £546m with "significant revenue contributions" from sales of videos and DVDs, formats and licensing. America's appetite for the best of British appears to be insatiable: a US version of MasterChef, presented by Gordon Ramsay, proved successful and Simon Cowell's The X Factor is set to arrive next year."
Source:  Data from PACT, reported by The Guardian, 4th October 2010

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