Netflix and Amazon spent £150m on British-made shows last year

Streaming services help drive UK TV production sector to record £2.7bn in revenues

Netflix and Amazon spent £150m on British-made TV shows last year including Black Mirror and The Crown, driving the UK production sector to a record high.

The two companies led an almost 20% year-on-year increase in spend from overseas on-demand services, which also includes small TV commissioners such as YouTube, on shows made by UK production companies.

Overall, the UK TV production sector hit a new high of £2.7bn in annual revenues, helped by the sale of programmes such as Victoria, Sherlock and Midsomer Murders overseas, which hit a record £218m.

Victoria, with Jenna Coleman
Episode one of season one of Victoria, with Jenna Coleman as Victoria and Daniela Holtz as Baroness Lehzan. Photograph: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

In just a few short years, Netflix and Amazon, which has produced UK hits including The Grand Tour, have grown to account for almost one-third of the £549m total spent on UK commissions by overseas broadcasters.

“It is inevitable those big platforms want to work with British producers, because we have a reputation for delivering creativity and quality,” said John McVay, the chief executive of TV producers’ association Pact. “We want to encourage all those platforms to spend more, and they almost certainly will, as they still account for a small proportion of total commissioning spend.”

According to Pact, the £150m spent by Netflix and Amazon is just 7% of the total £2.1bn spent on making shows using UK producers by domestic TV companies such as ITV, Channel 4, the BBC and Sky, as well as international players.

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In April, Netflix, which has seen UK staff numbers swell from a little over a dozen to 60 in the space of a year, revealed that it will spend $1bn (£777m) on shows commissioned from producers across Europe this year. Netflix, which also made films including Brad Pitt’s War Machine in the UK last year, has a total budget of about $8bn (£6.2bn). Amazon is estimated to be spending about $5bn (£3.9bn) on film and TV content this year.

The report also highlighted what might be termed the Love Island effect: the amount of money spent making programmes such as the ITV2 hit reality show, Channel 4’s Gogglebox and First Dates, has almost doubled to almost £260m since 2012, as the popularity of what is termed factual entertainment has boomed.


Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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