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Programme sales help drive Worldwide revenue and profit increases

BBC Worldwide grew headline profit by 8% and revenues by 5% in the year to end-March.

The commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster publishes its annual review today and it will reveal that Worldwide’s profit before tax increased to £104 million in the 2011/2012 financial year compared to £92 million a year earlier. Headline profit increased 8% year-on-year, taking the total to £155 million and revenue was up 5% at £1.1 billion.

Worldwide has now recorded revenues of over £1 billion for four consecutive years.

The proportion of sales and profit from international programme sales increased sharply with Worldwide pinpointing Top Gear, Doctor Who, Frozen Planet, Torchwood, Spooks, Sherlock, Planet Earth and Natural World as its top selling titles. Worldwide said that the US and Australia were the strongest growth areas for programme sales, which in total accounted for 64% of revenues in the year.

Alongside programme sales, digital also accounted for a larger proportion of overall revenues.Digital sales increased to 13% of net sales from 8% in 2010/11, driven by very strong growth in sales to subscription video-on-demand providers.

Revenue from channels increased 14% with BBC America Worldwide’s fastest-growing international network.

John Smith, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide said: “These results have enabled BBC Worldwide to return £216 million to the BBC, supporting development of world-class, original content in the context of a tighter licence fee. BBC Worldwide also distributed programmes and formats produced by more than 200 UK independent producers in the year.”

Mark Thompson, outgoing director-general of the BBC and Chairman of BBC Worldwide, said: “In the last eight years, revenue has almost doubled, headline profits have grown four-fold and over £1.3 billion has been returned to the BBC. In a tough financial environment, BBC Worldwide delivered a record £215.7 million return to the BBC in the year.”