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September 2018

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  • The Production 100
    Tim Dams introduces Televisual’s exclusive Production 100 survey of the indie television sector, now in its 26th year, and finds the rise of the streamers is creating opportunity –but also plenty of anxiety. The report includes the top 100 indies, the
  • The Genre report: Factual TV
    Demand for factual is growing as channels fight ever harder for audiences. Televisual Factual Festival producer Pippa Considine reports
  • All the Fun of the Fair
    ITV and Amazon’s new Vanity Fair adaptation demanded a period drama with a modern sensibility. But how was that balancing act achieved? Jon Creamer reports
  • The Art of the Vfx Super
    Creativity, tech know-how and a cool head are essential attributes for a vfx supervisor. Three top supers tell Jon Creamer how they help create screen magic
  • Channel 4's big move
    Three cities are still in the running for the new out-of-London Channel 4 HQ and three for the two creative hubs. The indies in those cities say the potential prize is immense. Jon Creamer reports
  • IBC preview
    IBC is a great place to check out both new launches and to get your hands on something already announced at NAB. Here’s a small taste of what’s likely to be on offer
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Production 100, 2013 Back to Reports & survey Listing

The recovery may be anaemic elsewhere in the economy but there are some signs of life in the media – both for commercial broadcasters and for the independent production companies that supply them.

For 2012, PACT reports growth in primary commissions from UK broadcasters to indies for the first time since the recession year of 2008 (thank you Channel 4 and Sky), while international revenues continue to climb.

Mediatique’s own independent analysis confirms the PACT trends, but throws up some sources of potential concern. We haven’t yet felt the full  effects of the BBC’s frozen licence fee settlement while ITV’s aggressive acquisitions of indies over the past 12 months is likely to lead to a reduction in its external spending over time. Channel 4 may not be able to expand on its inflation-busting content expenditure levels of recent years. Sky will continue to spend, but we’d expect the effects of premium rights inflation (particularly in football) to hit original content budgets.

Still, the relative recovery has kept valuation expectations on the high side, so buyers are wary. Some big potential acquirers are focussing on tying in talent rather than paying a premium to buy an indie outright. There have been some deals recently, including ITV’s US purchases, its acquisition of Big Talk, Tinopolis’ acquisiton of Firecracker and the sale of Left Bank to Sony; but the grand-daddy of indies, All3Media, failed to find a buyer.

Relatively modest dealflow reflects both the lack of targets (following the wave of pre-recession consolidation) and perhaps some concern about fundamental trends – not least original content expenditure plans at major broadcasters. While now accounting for far less of indie revenues than five years ago, primary commissions are still the engine, and the short-term outlook here looks mixed.

Mathew Horsman is director of Mediatique, which provides strategic and financial advice to media companies, including broadcasters and indies.

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