This will put an even greater emphasis on overseas income through selling formats and programmes internationally, says trade body Pact.

Overall revenues for independent TV producers remained flat last year at £2.2 billion. This was despite broadcaster commissions – the main source of revenue for independent producers – declining by over £100 million (or 7.5%) in 2009. Producers offset this domestic decline by increasing international revenue. Sales of finished programmes overseas increased by 12.4%. Producers also increased other sources of overseas income, such as commissions from non-UK broadcasters, by 32.2%.

Almost two thirds of respondents to Pact’s annual indie sector report said they’d also cut overheads, while 29% said they’d saved money by making people redundant.

More than 85% of producers told consultants Oliver & Ohlbaum that gap financing – the gap between what a production costs and what a commissioning broadcaster will pay – will continue to increase, putting further pressure on profit margins and the need for other sources of revenue.