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Multichannel broadcasters step up programme investment

Multichannel broadcasters step up programme investment
Staff Reporter
18 June 2014

New figures from Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) show that its members invested a record £725m in UK television production last year.

The £725m represents a nearly 50% increase on 2009’s figure of £487m, the first year that COBA carried out its census of members.

COBA represents digital, cable and satellite services in the UK’s commercial television and on-demand sector. Its members are A+E Networks, BSkyB, Chinese Channel, Discovery Networks, Fox International Channels, NBCUniversal, QVC, Scripps Networks International, Sony Pictures Television, The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting.

Other key findings from the survey included:
·        Since the census started, investment in new (i.e. first-run) UK programming has risen strongly, up 53% from £387m in 2009 to £597m last year.
·        Investment in programmes made by UK independent TV producers also recorded strong growth, up 18% compared to the previous census.
·        Multichannel broadcasters have increased their investment in UK news and current affairs to nearly £90m per annum, up 2.8% per annum since 2011.
·        The new tax reliefs for high end TV and animation are having a positive effect, attracting production worth £447m in their first year. This included large scale productions based across the entire UK, including London, the English regions and Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Sponsored by the British Film Commission and Film London, the 2014 census covers the period 2011-2013 and builds on COBA’s 2012 census, also by independent media analysts Oliver & Ohlbaum (O&O).

Sky has recently emerged as a significant investor in new programming, including shows like Penny Dreadful (pictured), Got to Dance and Moone Boy.  Discovery, A+E and Scripps are also important commissioners for UK producers.

Dee Forbes, COBA chair and President & MD of Discovery Networks, Western Europe, said: “This is the highest recorded level of investment in UK content from COBA members and demonstrates our commitment to the sector. Our members increased their investment in overall UK television content and recorded particularly strong growth in first-run programmes and commissions from independent producers. Multichannel broadcasters are one of the fastest growing parts of the UK broadcasting sector. ”

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