Netflix, Amazon boost slumping U.K. production business

Netflix original series "The Crown."

American SVOD services, specifically Netflix, have been credited with keeping the U.K.'s film and TV production business afloat, despite slumping domestic revenue. 

Overall, international distribution sources ordered nearly £789 million ($1 billion) in programming in the U.K. last year, a 5.3% uptick, according to producers' association Pact. International digital suppliers accounted for more than half that total. Specifically, Pact said that Netflix and international SVOD suppliers generated $163.88 million in sales in the U.K. in 2016, with shows like “The Crown” and “Black Mirror” figuring in prominently.

Since 2010, revenue from international sources has increased for the U.K. production business by around 13%. Revenue from domestic sources, meanwhile, fell to its lowest level since 2011, hitting $1.95 billion, Pact said.

The U.K. production market might be seeing a lot more revenue from Netflix and Amazon. A year ago, Amazon Studios announced the appointment of a London-based commissioning executive to ramp up more production in the region. By January, BBC Studios said it had been hired to produced a six-part comedy series called “Good Omens” for the American SVOD service. 

And in March, one of the country’s largest banks, Barclays, announced a $125 million fund to specifically support U.K. TV companies producing content for Netflix and Amazon. The fund was set up to aid these companies as they deal with the staggered way the SVOD services pay their bills.