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December 2017

In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Televisual Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual's exclusive annual report, the Commercials 30, and finds that while budgets are down and production companies are under threat from agency in-house units, commercials producers are finding new horizons beyond ads too.
  • Commercials 30: Best in Show
    Commercials producers also get to vote for their favourite directors, stand out ads and top rated agencies along with their favourite post houses, editors and vfx ops. We reveal the results
  • Commercials 30: The Top 30
    Televisual reveals the Commercials 30 itself, the 30 top rated commercials production companies in the UK
  • Music in Motion
    So what’s next for the music behind the commercials? Will it be another year in the ascendant for London Grime perhaps? Portugese house? Afro beats or the Angolan kuduro sound?
  • Televisual Factual Festival report
    Last month saw Televisual's annual Factual Festival return to Bafta. How to stand out in a world of ever increasing viewer choice was the big theme this time. Tim Dams reports
  • Alison Kirkham in interview
    At the Televisual Factual Festival, the BBC's controller of factual Alison Kirkham outlined the shows the corporation is looking for in the year ahead
From the magazine
Available to read online
  • 2017: the year in review
    Two very different stories – the rise of SVOD players and the Harvey Weinstein abuse allegations – defined TV’s year. Tim Dams reports
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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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