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June 2019
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  • Televisual Bulldog Awards - the winners
    The votes have been counted and the results are in. See the winners of this year's Televisual Bulldog Awards
  • The Art of Noise
    Special 15 page report on audio post for movies, TV & commercials
  • Making the Cut
    Top editors behind Spectre, Inception, A Very English Scandal and Bros: After The Screaming Stops on sculpting the story
  • Live Action
    From concerts to cup finals: how broadcasters are using live events to stand out from the streamers
  • Machine Learning
    Televisual’s Technology Survey uncovers the industry’s favourite kit
  • Breathing Space
    Studios dash to make room for an influx of movies and drama
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surveys

Production 100 2012 Back to Reports & survey Listing

Foreign investors are in charge of UK production companies with a combined turnover of £1bn. It means that almost half of the sector is foreign-owned, given that the top 100 indies turned over £2.1bn in 2011/12.

Indeed, seven of the top ten superindies in the UK are foreign-owned:  Shine Group  was acquired by News Corp last year; Endemol UK is part of the eponymous Dutch group; Zodiak UK belongs to Italian conglomerate De Agostini Group; IMG Sport is the UK production arm of US sports giant IMG; FremantleMedia belongs to European TV giant RTL Group; Shed Media is majority owned by US studio Warner Bros; and NBC Universal has a significant presence here through its ownership of Carnival Films and Monkey.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Television International is also building its presence in the UK, owning Silver River, Gogglebox and Victory. It is also reported to be buying leading drama producer Left Bank. German production group Red Arrow Entertainment is also investing in the UK, owning The Mob, Nerd TV, CPL and Endor. And broadcaster Discovery earlier this year acquired factual producer Betty.

A number of factors are driving the international takeover of the UK production sector: the UK’s favourable rights environment, the appeal of English-language content internationally, and the depth of talent in the UK market.

The incursion of US studios into the UK, in particular, has raised fears amongst some local execs of the “Coca-Cola-isation” of the UK production sector, with the big groups only interested in producing bland formats designed explicitly for international markets rather than shows designed specifically for the UK market.

On the plus side, UK production companies owned by well resourced international players have greater access to capital to help them fund shows. NBC Universal, for example, has provided vital funding to raise the budget of ITV’s global hit Downton Abbey, made by NBC-owned Carnival Films.

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