In Brief

Netflix and Amazon spark UK TV boom

Online producers now account for a third of overseas commissions

The British TV production sector is booming, thanks in part to the number of programmes being commissioned by overseas online video companies. Netflix and Amazon led the charge, spending a total of £150m last year in the UK.

Figures from Pact, the TV producers’ association, show the sector is now worth a record £2.7bn a year in annual revenue. The total was swollen by £218m from foreign sales of shows made and commissioned in the UK, including Sherlock and Victoria.

Investment by overseas online commissioners – including YouTube and smaller firms, as well as Amazon and Netflix – was up by 20% on the year before and now makes up almost one third of the total spent by foreign firms making programmes in Britain.

While the spend by Netflix and Amazon is just 7% of the sector’s £2.7bn total, the rapid rise of streaming services is good news for the UK, says Pact.

“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 group’s chief executive. “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.”

Netflix now employs 60 people in the UK – up from around a dozen 12 months earlier. It expects to spend $1bn (£764m) on commissioning shows from European producers this year. That means the US firm is spending around one eighth of its programme-making budget in Europe.

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