Netflix, Amazon boost UK international production investment

The Crown

The Crown

UK production companies made £468 million in commissions from international broadcasters and SVOD services between 2015 and 2016, according to data from a new census.

A new report released this morning showed a 5.3% increase in what UK indie producers body Pact terms as ‘primary international commissions’, a figure in part driven by SVOD platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

During that period, Netflix commissioned series such as The Crown and a third season of Black Mirror, while Amazon egan spending on movies such as War Machine. In total, SVOD players spent £126 million on UK originals, which was almost double the £62.5 million spent in 2015.

Both companies are building out their UK commissioning teams. Netflix recently established a factual unit in the territory and is heavily linked with Channel 4’s outgoing content chief Jay Hunt, while Amazon hired FremantleMedia International’s Georgia Brown as director of original television.

Pact’s data showed that international finished programme sales were holding steady year-on-year, at £166 million. This an increase of 166% since 2008, Pact noted.

However, overall TV production revenues in the UK declined 2.9% on the 2015 figure, but held relatively steady at £2.5 million. This was mainly down to falling UK commissioning revenues and rights income from public service broadcasters (PSBs).

UK commissioning spend was down to £1.5 billion, the lowest level since 2011, though non-PSB orders rose 13% as digital channels attempted to cut through their with own network-defining shows.

Non-PSBs also commissioned the highest number of new commissions, with 61% of originals being first seasons or fresh shows. ITV, which is heavily reliant on big-ticket shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, spent 19% on new shows, with Channel 5 at 26% and the BBC and Channel 4 at 32%.

Other takeaways from Pact’s latest census showed spend on drama had nearly halved since 2008, with factual entertainment nearly doubling in the same time as shows such as Gogglebox, The Great British Bake Off and First Dates have scored strong and consistent ratings.

“It’s encouraging that the world continues to want high quality content of British TV and this important revenue stream enables indies to reinvest back into UK plc,” said Pact CEO John McVay.

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