Leading UK digital channels’ content spend hits £2.6bn

A group of leading UK digital and pay TV channels spent a combined £2.6 billion (€3.25 billion) on programming last year, a £234 million increase on the 2012 number.

COBA, the industry group for commercial pay TV and digital channels, canvassed its members to get the content spending numbers.

Its membership comprises A+E, BSkyB, Chinese Channel, Discovery, Fox International Channels, NBCUniversal, QVC, Scripps, Sony, Disney and Turner and the £2.6 billion figure is the cumulative amount these channel operators spent on content for their UK channels in 2013.

Within the total there was a sharp increase in the amount spent on UK-originated content, which rose to £625 million in 2013. Of that total, £597 was spent on first-run programming, £124 million on secondary rights to UK content, and £4 million on formats.

COBA said that over a third of the UK content spend is on programming from independent producers and two thirds of that indie spend is from smaller producers.

“This is the highest recorded level of investment in UK content from COBA members and demonstrates our commitment to the sector,” said Dee Forbes, COBA chair and president and managing director of Discovery Networks, Western Europe. “Our members increased their investment in overall UK television content and recorded particularly strong growth in first-run programmes and commissions from independent producers.”