|US Studios: International Sales: 2007-2009|
He mentioned some items, an Innovation fund, infrastructure investment – but as some commentators said, it would be good to hear more about the plans for our export led recovery.
A year has passed and, once again, there are new figures for UK TV exports.
It may be unfair to compare us with the US studios but it is always worth noting what they are doing. What they have done in the last two years is striking indeed.
The six studios are the main sources of new US comedy and drama, which they both produce and distribute. In the face of declining licensing revenues in the US and a drop of nearly two thirds in DVD sales, they managed to grow International by nearly 37% in recession-hit 2009. (We are studying how they did this in a detailed report which will be out shortly).
The UK TV export figures from PACT show some encouraging signs: 9% growth in format licensing and a very big increase (from a smallish base) in revenues from overseas production. Two positive messages.
But the big item in international sales, half the total, £550m, remains TV series. 10% growth is not to be sniffed at. But what we have to recognise is that Drama is the big seller around the world, the biggest internationally-traded genre. UK drama sales are not broken out in the UK report but I estimate that our drama sales, perhaps £350 or £400m, are only about 7% of the total US sales in the same category. The six studio’s international TV sales reached nearly $9bn in 2009!
Every year we get a similar message in these reports. “International sales were hindered by the low number of episodes per run produced for the UK market and a shortage of returning series.”