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British programme exports hit £1.3bn

Mr-Selfridge-Harry-SelfridgeThe total value of UK television exports was £1.28 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the 2013/14 period, a 5% increase on the £1.22 billion recorded in the previous year.

China registered the greatest growth as a buyer of UK fare, for the second year in a row, with sales up 40% at £17 million.

The US is the biggest buyer of British TV exports and accounted for almost half of all sales revenue in 2013/14. The £523 million in US sales, 47%  of the total, was up 10% year-on-year.

Australia was the second-biggest export market although annual revenues f £95 million were down 10% on the previous year. Europe accounted for 27%of the sales.

The figures are collated in UK producers’ trade association Pact’s UK Television Export Report.

“The report shows that UK television productions remain amongst the most highly regarded and sought after globally,” said John McVay, CEO, Pact. “The year-on-year growth we’ve seen is a reflection of the sector’s ability to continually innovate and attract new markets and we should feel extremely proud that UK content is the envy of the world.

Sales of finished shows accounted for £644 million of all export revenue with BBC Worldwide’s Atlantis and The Musketeers named as star performers, alongside ITV Studios Global Entertainment’s period drama Mr Selfridge (pictured).

BBC Worldwide’s president, global markets, Paul Dempsey, said: “This survey is a timely reminder that viewers in Shanghai or Seattle are just as likely to be talking about great British shows like Sherlock and Luther as commentators here are to be talking about the latest U.S. TV blockbuster.”

Maria Kyriacou, MD of ITV Studios Global Entertainment added: “The UK production industry is hugely creative and the emergence of new markets and platforms worldwide is a fantastic opportunity for new international audiences to enjoy the very best programming that the UK has to offer.”