UK production revenues are approaching pre-Covid levels but spending on international and streamers is falling, Pact says

The British drama The Crown

Revenue from UK TV productions is recovering to pre-Covid levels, although international TV and streaming figures are down, according to the latest findings from trade organization Pact.

The 2021 Pact Census released today found international revenue from startups fell to £952m ($1.09bn) for the second straight year, blaming the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the demise of several major shows was laid.

Commission earnings from global streamers like Netflix and Amazon have shrunk by £57m in 2021, although UK streaming commission earnings from BBC iPlayer and All 4 have risen by 191%.

Revenue from international sales of finished programs was also up 10% year-on-year as the UK was able to get back to production faster than most other countries, allowing buyers around the world to stock up on shows to fit their schedules to stock up .

The recovery was largely due to higher revenue for larger producers, many of whom were hit hard by the spread of the pandemic in 2020, with 44% of total revenue coming from producers with sales in excess of £70m. Pact added that more producers have entered this class of over 70 million people over the past year.

John McVay

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Total TV production revenues have almost returned to pre-Covid levels, growing 13% in 2021 to £3.25bn, just £79m below pre-Covid revenues in 2019.

Pact added that while the pandemic had an impact on 2021, “innovation” by the sector and the government’s production restart program meant production was returning to near full capacity. The recovery has also been bolstered by the resumption of many productions that have been postponed from 2020.

Domestic TV revenues also rose significantly in 2021, with commissions from UK broadcasters the main driver of the recovery, reaching £2.20bn.

Public broadcasters’ spending on indie producers rose 24%, and multi-channel spending — driven largely by pay-TV giant Sky — has nearly doubled, up 99%. Increasing competition from international streamers, as well as Covid-related production backlogs, drove much of these increases as broadcasters sought to bolster their originals.

The drama, meanwhile, reclaimed its place as the most valuable genre after suffering from Covid-19 in 2020. It accounted for 35% of all spending in the UK, with entertainment (28%) and factual entertainment (20%) also making up a large proportion of spending.

John McVay, CEO of Pact, said: “It is encouraging to see the manufacturing sector have recovered so strongly from the pandemic, but clearly Covid-related challenges remain, including the lack of viable insurance options for producers.

“Although international earnings are on the mend, British indies still pumped nearly £1billion into the UK economy and the UK’s ability to get back to manufacturing quickly contributed to its strong recovery.”

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