The United Kingdom’s television industry is in rude health at the moment, with overseas sales helping to keep the cash tills ringing.
According to recent research from Betway Casino, UK TV exports generated an eye-watering £1.48 billion in revenue last year.
Planet Earth, Doctor Who and Downtown Abbey were amongst the biggest success stories, while international adaptations of Love Island and Come Dine With Me also proved popular.
The United States is the UK’s most lucrative export market, bringing in £466 million during 2020 from shows such as The Office (US) and Top Gear.
Australia and Canada also feature in the top five for overseas sales, while France is the biggest market of the non-English speaking countries with £102m in revenue.
Future growth in revenue appears most likely to come from Latin American and Asian markets judging by the respective 13 and 15 percent rise in revenue in 2020.
The rise of local streaming services has helped to drive the increases and analysts have forecast that the trend will continue apace over the next few years.
Uptake of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services is behind the boom with global subscriptions on track to hit 1.5 billion by 2026.
This is excellent news for the UK TV industry, with on-demand platforms currently accounting for just over two-thirds of all international sales.
One of the best examples of the sector’s recent expansion into different markets was the deal agreed by ITV Studios and GloboPlay earlier this year.
The Brazilian SVOD service signed an agreement to take a package of more than 400 hours of scripted content from the UK company.
Popular shows such as Noughts + Crosses, World on Fire and Gold Digger have all been made available on the streaming platform.
GloboPlay has also taken the complete three seasons of the critically acclaimed Victoria and five seasons of the multi award-winning series Poldark.
Murdoch Mysteries, Mum, Balthazar and Flesh and Blood are other series that were included in the landmark deal.
The UK TV industry’s shift towards different regions is unsurprising given recent developments regarding the country’s relationship with Europe.
Brexit changed the landscape for many sectors, and that has certainly been the case where media and entertainment are concerned.
The European Union has made it clear that they want to limit the impact of UK TV on the continent as they consider it to be a threat to ‘cultural diversity’ in the bloc.
The EU has argued that a ‘disproportionate’ amount of UK content is being aired and is hindering the success of shows from smaller countries or in less prevalent languages.
While the EU’s stance would normally have been viewed as problematic, the rise in interest for UK TV content from other regions means the impact is unlikely to be felt.
The UK’s entertainment and media revenue is projected to rise from £71.3bn this year to £87.9bn in 2025, which will help to boost export sales even further.