Televisual’s exclusive annual report into the TV indie sector, the Production 100, is out now.

In a change to the survey this year, due to the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve not asked companies for their turnover so we have not ranked indies. Instead, the P100 is an A-Z of all of those who took part.

Studio Lambert was voted the producers’ producer in the report’s annual Peer Poll in which indies vote for the rivals they most admire.

The survey also asked respondents to name the broadcasters that are the best, and worst, to work with. The BBC was voted as both the best and was also named as the broadcaster indies found it hardest to deal with over the past year.

All3media International took the crown as the indies’ best rated distributor.

The full 41 page report is out now in the Autumn issue of Televisual Magazine.

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What a difference a year makes. The theme of 2019’s Production 100 was all about new opportunities for producers in the ‘golden age of TV’ as streamers upped spending. The 2020 Production 100 is dominated by one issue – the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus has caused the most profound business disruption to producers since the birth of the indie sector in the 1980s. Covid-19 has become “bigger than anything else the industry has faced,” says Britain’s Got Talent producer Thames. Other issues have paled into insignificance by comparison.

In the short term, most indies switched to survival mode as lockdown was announced in March – halting production, closing offices, working from home, furloughing staff, cutting costs and focusing on preserving cash.

With production slowly restarting in the summer, many have begun to think about the longer term impact of Covid-19. As in so many industries, the pandemic has accelerated change that was already taking place.

Notably, producers talk about a faster shift in power away from weakened ad funded terrestrials like Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV and towards cash-rich global subscription services like Netflix and Amazon. Home working and remote production have moved from theory to practice in the space of months, with huge implications for costs and ways of doing business.

More than anything, though, Covid-19 has demonstrated the remarkable inventiveness and resilience of indies. “The UK production sector are a creative, tenacious and adaptable lot,” says Location, Location, Location producer IWC Media. “Most, but not all of us, will get through this.”

The 2007-8 financial crisis forced many indies to rethink their business and look to international markets, particularly the US, for new customers. In the same way, the pandemic will one day be looked upon as a turning point for UK production. “There’s a long history of creative industries turning challenges into new and even better output,” says Red Dwarf: The Promised Land producer Baby Cow. “There are bound to be examples of exceptional creativity to come out of this very tough time.”

All of these issues and more will be explored throughout the Production 100 over the following pages, but first a note about the survey itself. The pandemic has also changed the Production 100 for the first time in its long history. This year, we’ve taken the decision not to ask for financial figures; it hardly seemed fair to rank companies based on turnover when so many had been forced to halt production.

Instead, the Production 100 acts as an A-Z showcase of the UK’s most impressive production companies, and we’ve included all those who have taken part in the survey.

Full the full report, see the Autumn issue of Televisual magazine



Jon Creamer

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