Investment in the creation of home-grown television programmes by multichannel broadcasters has hit £1.1 billion a year, according to a new report from industry body the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA).
The record levels of investment in home-grown UK content are revealed today in COBA’s 2019 Content Report, a study conducted by Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates for COBA. The report details investment in UK television shows by the multichannel broadcasting sector.
The report found that multichannel broadcasters invested £1.1 billion in UK production in 2017 – the first time the multichannel sector’s spending on UK content has hit £1 billion.
The report also states that investment in UK content by multichannel broadcasters has grown by 75% on 2011 and that the majority of investment – £965m in 2017 – is on new first-run UK content.
The COBA report says that the multichannel sector spent £447m in 2017 on commissions from external producers (independent producers, non-qualifying independents and co-pros). The remainder was invested in in-house production in such genres as news, sport and animation.
COBA’s chair Heather Jones said: “This report signals the coming of age of the multi-channel TV industry. It is not just about the record levels of spend; it is also about creative competition and plurality, giving opportunities to a greater array of voices than ever before. Along with the thriving UK production sector, the biggest beneficiaries are UK viewers – who now have an even better and broader choice of excellent British TV shows to watch than ever before.”
Adam Minns, COBA’s Executive Director, said that despite the news, there were threats to continuing investment from advertising restrictions, Ofcom awarding EPG prominence to PSBs and Brexit uncertainty. “A successful mixed ecology of different types of players is a particular strength of the UK television sector and this game changing level of investment shows the benefits that come from that. But COBA members invest in UK programming without direct or indirect public support in the form of the licence fee, EPG prominence or privileged access to spectrum. Multichannel investment is directly linked to channels’ ability to generate a commercial return, notably via advertising and subscription revenues, and undermining that ability will inevitably make it harder for broadcasters to invest in content.”
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