Multichannel UK commissions up 23%

September 2017

Multichannel investment in independent UK television programming shows strong growth – up 23% year on year, according to producers body PACT.

The Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) has welcomed PACT’s annual census of commissioning from independent UK television producers, which found that investment in UK programmes by “non PSB” broadcasters rose more than £50m in 2016 – a 23% increase year on year.

PACT’s 2017 financial census found that spending on commissions from UK independent producers by non PSB – or multichannel – broadcasters reached £275m in 2016, up from £222m the year before. It means that non PSBs now account for 18% of overall commissioning from UK independent producers, having recorded a CAGR of more than 13% since 2008.

The report’s authors, Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, also noted that investment by the multichannel sector included an exceptionally high proportion of new programmes (as opposed to re-commissioning a further series of an existing show). The report states that 61% of multichannel spending went on new commissions, compared to around a third of PSB spending. This helps ensure that the UK creative sector and audiences benefit from a fresh supply of new ideas and talent

Adam Minns, COBA’s Executive Director, said:

“The Pact census provides further evidence of the strong growth in investment in UK commissions by multichannel broadcasters.  The UK production sector is all the healthier for having a mixed ecology of PSBs and non PSBs, particularly when it comes to commissioning the new ideas that are vital to ensuring the UK is a leading source of fresh content.”

According to COBA’s most recent census (2014), members of the Commercial Broadcasters Association invest around £600m a year in first-run UK content, rising to £725m if repeats are included. Unlike the Pact census, this includes in house production.

The multichannel investment in the Pact census and COBA’s census excludes commissions from PSB broadcasters (the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) and all of their related portfolio channels.