Indielab’s new annual Indie Voice survey has revealed that 72% of true Indies feel they are at risk of closure if the current commissioning slowdown persists.

The survey was completed by sixty-seven independent production companies who are not more that 25% owned by a UK broadcaster who answered questions on their commercial health, current challenges, and the future trajectory of independent production in the UK.

The companies answered questions on topics ranging from new production finance strategies to Public Sector Broadcaster (PSB) responsibilities to fresh revenue stream generation.

Survey responses reflected overwhelming support of five indie-led proposals to protect the grassroots of the television sector; Small Indie Quotas for PSBs (91%) quotas applied to streamers (88%), guidelines for Small Indie IP protection (100%), and tax-credits extended to cover all genres and production budgets (100%).

Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) felt that PSB remits and responsibilities needed to be addressed, and licence-fee uncertainty was causing greater market instability. PSBs also came under fire for their lack of engagement with the indie sector, over a third of respondents (38%) felt that lack of clarity, poor communication and lack of commissioner access and engagement at PSBs contributed significantly to uncertainty and sector instability. Multiple responses criticised commissioners for only commissioning small indies if they co-produce with super indies, often compromising small indie’s IP.

Responses also highlight that without support, and if the current commissioning slowdown persists, 72% of indies will be at risk of closure by the end of the year.

Despite commissioning slowdown, the Indie Voice survey revealed a silver lining 34% of respondents anticipate company growth in the current financial year.

Predicted Growth Areas include International co-productions, ‘affordable drama,’ talent collaborations, digital content, and brand-funded programming emerged as areas predicted to drive growth.

Indie Voice shows that indies have demonstrated flexibility and resilience by exploring new commercial avenues. Over 78% delved into fresh revenue streams, while 55% introduced new production finance strategies.

New Revenue Streams included Podcasts, branded content, back catalogue exploitation, corporate production and YouTube subscription models topped the list.

“Indielab has a wide network of indies of all sizes, we’ve supported over a third of UK indies through our accelerator programmes over the last nine years. Over the last year, we’ve witnessed common experiences and consistent calls to action to protect the indie sector, but only heard them individually. For the wider TV industry, government, broadcasters, and Ofcom to really hear them, and it’s important that they do, indies needed to speak together – hence Indie Voice.’ Victoria Powell, CEO of Indielab said.

“Collectively small indies make up a whopping 85% of the UK production sector but they contribute so much more through fresh thinking, agility and creativity. Small indies really are both the foundation and fuel of our wider TV industry, one that’s recognised all over the world for its brilliance, and these grassroots must be heard and protected.” Victoria Powell, continued.

Indie Voice 2024 is sponsored by Harbottle & Lewis, to download the full report, click here:

Jon Creamer

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