UK television international sales rose to an incredible £1.326 billion last year, up 10% on 2015 – and Doctor Who is one of the top three most-exported programmes.
Our beloved sci-fi is joined in the top trilogy by Sherlock (written by Cold War‘s Mark Gatiss and current Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat) and Top Gear, all products of the BBC – despite the Conservative Government’s pretty consistent criticisms of the institution – and are sold to more than 200 territories. They’re followed by Poldark, Midsomer Murders, and Mr Selfridge.
In the foreword to the 2015/16 UK Television Exports Report, its author and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for International Trade (DIT), Mark Garnier said:
“From The Night Manager to Downton Abbey, UK TV exports continue to go from strength to strength. The UK is a world leader in the sales of TV content globally and revenues continue to rise. Latest international revenue figures show current sales at more than £1.3 billion, a 10% increase from £1.2 billion in 2014/15. UK programmes are some of the most recognisable and eagerly anticipated in the world. British innovation and creativity, allied with high production values and the ownership of Intellectual Property that can be exploited globally, are considered among the greatest assets of the UK television sector.”
America remains the UK’s largest market, with a 16% increase to £497 million, then Australia, bringing in £106 million. There’s also a 40% increase in shows being exported to China, and that’s set to expand even further after a co-production deal between the two countries was signed in December 2016; however, the biggest growth was for exports to Japan, rising to 48%, or £15 million. Paul Dempsey, President of BBC Worldwide’s Global Markets, says:
“As the world finds more ways to watch great British shows, our content is riding a wave of popularity. The growing appeal of authored British drama in the U.S. and the hunger for titles that speak to a young, upmarket audience in China has put the UK in the premier league of international TV distribution.”
It’s especially pleasing for Doctor Who and Sherlock fans, as 2016 seemed so quiet, although it’s sad to see percentage decreases for two countries visited in the 2014 Doctor Who World Tour: Brazil (-5%) and Mexico (-7%)!
The BBC must also be happy to know Top Gear remained one of its biggest franchises, following the expulsion of Jeremy Clarkson and co., after alleged violence on the presenter’s part. According to respondents to the annual report, though, suggest this coming year’s exports could be affected by the political and economic landscape in Europe – and yes, that means Brexit. This is a big deal, as France is the UK’s third biggest (and Britain’s biggest non-English speaking) market, a rise of 5% to £73 million.
Nonetheless, this is something to applaud, and it’s really satisfying to see Doctor Who being regarded so highly.