Our Sector

COBA members play a vital role in the success of the UK television sector, which is increasingly a “mixed ecology” of public and private sector broadcasters. The multichannel sector is one of the fastest growing part of the UK television industry:


  • The multichannel sector is worth £4 billion a year to the UK economy, and has been crucial in establishing the UK as a leading global television hub, home to more channels than any other European country.
  • The sector has doubled its direct employment in the UK over the last decade.
  • Multichannel broadcasters have increased investment in UK television production to a record £725m per annum, up nearly 50% on 2009 levels. They now account for 18% of all commissions from UK independent producers, up 23% year on year.
Economic Investment

Multichannel broadcasters are one of the fastest growing parts of the UK broadcasting sector. They have grown turnover significantly over the last decade, and have doubled direct UK employment in the last 10 years. They are worth £4 billion a year to the UK economy (GVA) and employ 12,000 people.

Content Investment

COBA members are investing in UK production at record levels. In 2013, they spent £725m on UK TV production, up nearly 50% on 2009, the first year covered by COBA’s Census. They now account for 18% of all commissions from UK independent producers, up 23% year on year.

Share of TV market

COBA members operate hundreds of services and are available on all UK platforms, both free to air and pay TV. They provide audiences with a wide range of content, including news, factual, sport, comedy, entertainment, drama, and children’s.

In addition to traditional platforms, COBA members are also leading innovators, with services on new VOD, online and mobile platforms.

Non-PSB broadcasters have a 28% of audience share in UK multichannel homes according to Ofcom’s 2010 Communications Market Report..


COBA members provide audiences with VoD services in addition to their linear television channels, providing innovative content from trusted sources. COBA’s Statement of Practice for Video-on-Demand (VoD) services is a commitment by on-demand content providers to make child protection a priority.  

What is the Statement of Practice?

The Statement is a commitment by companies that sign it to make child protection a priority for television programmes that viewers watch on-demand. It includes offering audiences child protection tools, such as pin protection, and information to help parents assess the suitability of programmes, wherever possible. The Statement includes a commitment to the highest standards in on-demand programmes, comparable to those on broadcast television channels.

What does the Statement cover?

The Statement covers on-demand programmes which are accessed through television platforms. It covers “catch-up” programmes that have previously broadcast on television channels. It does not cover on-demand programmes that are accessed via the internet, or from outside the UK. It cannot guarantee that audiences will always be able to access the full range of protection tools. These may, for example, be limited by the technology of the television platform.

Who has signed the Statement?

Signatories include many of the major on-demand services in the UK. In alphabetical order, they are: A+E Networks, Comedy Central, Discovery Networks, Fox International Channels, MTV, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Sky, Sony Pictures Television Networks, The Walt Disney Company, and Turner.

The complete VoD Statement and a copy of the guide can be found here:

COBA VOD Statement  COBA Guide VOD Statement

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Signalling how the UK television industry has become a truly “mixed ecology” of different players, 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 watershed moment is the first time annual investment in […]

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Watch our new film to see how independent producers across the UK are benefiting from commissions from COBA members.  

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