U.K. TV’s Boom and Bust: 2022 Saw Biggest Ever Turnover But Producers Predict Pain for 2023

The U.K. TV industry delivered a total sector revenue of almost £4 billion ($5 billion) in 2022.

The figure comes from a new production census report by local producers body Pact, which showed last year was a booming time for the industry, driven by both internal and international commissions and particularly an increased in streaming commissions.

“2022 was clearly a big boom year, both domestically and internationally,” said Pact CEO John McVay during a press briefing to unveil the results of the census. “Clearly the U.K. is still looked at as a place where large sums of money are being invested in content and that’s good news not just for my members but for everyone in the supply chain and the value chain for that as well”

Domestic TV revenues grew to £2.2 billion while international revenues came in at £1.6 billion, representing a 70% increase. Pact suggested the growth was partly down to break-out British hits such as Netflix series “The Crown” and “Sex Education” as well as streamers increasingly investing in local originals, such as Apple TV+ (which has commissioned a slew of U.K. fare including “Slow Horses” and “Hijack”) and Disney+ (whose local originals include “Extraordinary” and an adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s “Rivals”).

But the figures did not paint an entirely rosy picture, with McVay pointing out that many networks had over-commissioned in 2022, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had significantly slowed down commissions in 2023.

McVay warned that next year’s census was unlikely to show growth, with the industry being hit by a perfect storm of slowing commissions and inflation in 2023. “This year we all know is down and I anticipate next year’s census to be reporting numbers that might be more [similar] to 2019,” he said.

2019 turnover – which represented a 10-year peak – was calculated at £3.3 billion. The following year it dropped to £2.8 billion due to the multiple pandemic lockdowns, before bouncing back last year to £3.2 billion.

Pact has been recording an annual census every year since 2004.

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