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June 2019
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Production 100 2018 Back to Reports & survey Listing

Producers reveal the distribution companies they like to work with when they sell their shows into international markets

The worlds of distribution and production have become closely intertwined as the global market place has become ever more important to UK indies.

Distributors have traditionally played a vital role in selling on completed indie shows, both in the UK and around the world.

But they are also increasingly important to indies for the role they play in plugging programming budget shortfalls, investing up front into new shows and also helping to locate co-production partners.

According to the Production 100, indies earned on average 11.9% of their total revenues from exploiting their programme rights. This is up slightly from last year’s total of 11%.

Much of the growth has come from the international market. The majority of the revenues, 9.1%, derives from overseas sales (up from 8.5% last year), while 2.8% comes from selling programmes on to secondary UK broadcasters (compared to 2.5% last year).

ESI tops our list of most used distributors for the first time this year, displacing last year’s leaders BBC Worldwide and Sky Vision. ESI is “a high quality outfit that knows how to make money,” says one indie. Others rate its “incomparable” chief executive Cathy Payne.

DRG leapfrogs into second place this year. The Modern Times Group-owned distributor is rated for being able to operate in a “more bespoke way than similar sized distributors.” DRG also offers “competitive levels of deficit funding” and is “passionate, practical and very nice to deal with.”

BBC Worldwide slips to third, but is rated for its “scale”, “volume” and “relationships”. BBC Worldwide can be “important deficit financiers in complex co-productions,” although it can be “frustratingly slow at feedback.”

Sky Vision, meanwhile, picks up votes for its “commitment, investment and reach.”

FremantleMedia is rated for being very good with formats. The company “understands the market and puts together great pitches and feedback.”

TCB, which was acquired by Kew Media Group last year, has many fans among true indies – and tops our list of the most rated distributors. Its recent investment has “helped strengthen it no end”. “TCB just keeps on selling” and can also “provide significant advances.”

All3Media, meanwhile, is rated for being “very straightforward to deal with” and for its “excellent producer management skills.”


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