BBC Studios made a small profit in its first year as a commercial subsidiary with revenues of £432M ($572M). The company, which was spun-off into a commercial unit in April 2017, made an operating profit of £7.2M on 2,000 hours of programming.
This comes as it secured a number of third-party commissions for the first time including The Red List, a Natural History Unit production for Discovery, five-part series Royal Wedding Watch for PBS and a raft of shows for Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The company’s international division, BBC Worldwide, saw headline sales fall marginally from £1.06B to £1.04B in the last financial year but saw profit grow from £83.5M to £118.3M.
The company highlighted the global success of Blue Planet II, which was sold to 234 territories and helped the firm’s content sales division record £422M in revenues, similar to last year. The headline sales figure fell from last year as a result of a few factors including fewer U.S. production hours on Dancing with the Stars, the decline of the DVD market and the inter-group transfer of advertising sales. It returned £209.9M back to the BBC, in line with last year’s returns.
These results come after BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide merged into one entity, although this is not reflected in the financial results.
Tim Davie, CEO for BBC Studios, said, “BBC Worldwide delivered a solid performance for 2017/2018 against a rapidly changing and an ever more competitive landscape. The results reflect strong delivery against our strategy; investing in premium British IP and an increased focus on customer management have led to another record year for content sales, while our productions, formats and branded services continue to extend their global footprint and find wider audiences.
“BBC Worldwide entered the merger with BBC Studios from a strong position. Joining our world-class distribution capability with the UK’s most awarded production company was the most natural step to keep us both fit for the future. I am confident about the prospects of the new BBC Studios and what we can achieve together.”
Mark Linsey, Chief Creative Officer for BBC Studios, added, “It’s testament to the hard work and dedication of our hugely talented program-makers and business teams that we have turned a profit in our first year of operating as a commercial entity. This year we received 200 nominations and over 80 awards for our content. Three of the top five British shows of 2017 were ours, proving that our programs have made a huge impact on audiences. Not only that, we won new business from third-party broadcasters both here in the UK and around the world. We now look forward to consolidating and growing our success within the newly merged BBC Studios.”