Pay-TV broadcasters in the UK, including Sky and UKTV, have spent more than £1B (US$1.3B) on original, homegrown content for the first time.

A report from the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) highlighted that multichannel broadcasters invested £1.1B in in UK production in 2017, the first time that the sector spend over £1B a year.

This comes as A+E Networks UK chief Heather Jones replaces Discovery’s Susanna Dinnage, who recently turned down the chance to run the English Premier League, as chair of the organization. Jones, who is UK general manager and SVP, EMEA, for the factual giant, will chair the group for a two-year period.

COBA’s 2019 Content Report, which was conducted by Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, shows that investment in UK content by multichannel broadcasters, including A+E Networks and Discovery, has grown by 75% since 2011, significantly faster than that of public service broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5. The majority of investment – £965m in 2017 – is on new, first-run, UK content with the sector spending £447m in 2017 on commissions from external producers

Heather Jones said, “This report signals the coming of age of the multi-channel TV industry. It is not just about the record levels of spend; it is also about creative competition and plurality, giving opportunities to a greater array of voices than ever before. Along with the thriving UK production sector, the biggest beneficiaries are UK viewers – who now have an even better and broader choice of excellent British TV shows to watch than ever before.”