BackgroundGlobal TV Sales is central to BBC Worldwide's business. The division sells BBC and independently produced programmes to broadcasters around the world, including its own joint venture and wholly owned channels.
It is Europe's number one programme distributor, selling some 40,000 hours of television programming internationally every year through its teams in the Americas, EMEIA and Asia-Pacific.
BBC Showcase, Global TV Sales' own television festival, is the largest event of its kind by any single distributor. Some 500 broadcasters from across the globe flock to this four-day event in Brighton, which provides a shop window for the best of British programming.
StrategyGiven the vastly differing requirements of broadcasters, the business has developed a new sales strategy which reflects the characteristics of programme markets around the globe. The three sales hubs of London, New York and Sydney have now redefined their territories into emerging and developed markets.
Eastern Europe, Far East and Latin America are examples of emerging markets. The economics and consumption of media in these territories have been transformed in recent years and offer high growth potential.
Developed markets include Western Europe, Canada, the US and Australasia. As these markets are well established, they tend to be highly competitive. Limited growth opportunities are, however, offset by high revenues.
Having a vibrant portfolio of new programming every year is vital for the business and so in 2005/06 Global TV Sales increased its level of investment in independent and BBC in-house production by 18%.
Global TV Sales has a depth of experience in India where programming and format sales have always been strong. It was this business which drove forward a partnership with Mid Day Multimedia Limited to acquire licences in the recently liberated FM radio market. Seven licences were won establishing BBC Worldwide's first ever entry into FM radio broadcasting with the potential to reach millions of people.
PerformanceThe business continues to flourish and generated sales of £173m, up from £159m in 2004/05. Profits increased by 3% to deliver £31.7m to BBC Worldwide. There was strong improvement in sales to the UK largely as a result of UKTV Drama and UKTV G2 increasing their daytime programming. In addition, the business has developed a more vibrant sales market with other broadcasters, including the digital broadcasters ITV3 and Hallmark.
ActivityBBC Showcase celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with a record number of attendees, while the new Latin America Showcase event in Rio de Janiero enjoyed its second anniversary and increased attendance. Both events are key tools in generating worldwide sales.
The top-selling shows of 2005/06 show the breadth of Global TV Sales front catalogue. Titles include Doctor Who, Hiroshima, Hustle, Krakatoa, Little Britain, My Family and Top Gear.
The breathtaking Planet Earth series from the BBC's Natural History Unit has already been sold to Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy and South Africa, amongst others, and sales will build strongly in 2006/07.
The sales teams' expertise, coupled with the Indie Unit's focus (see Content & Production), helped BBC Worldwide achieve the accolade of Distributor of Choice in a Broadcast magazine survey of Independent producers.
Future directionIn the next year, the ambition is to work more closely with other areas of BBC Worldwide and to use Global TV Sales' unparalleled distribution network even more effectively as digital platforms develop. The broadcasting arena is undergoing its most radical change since the introduction of colour television and Global TV Sales will look to adapt its business to reach audiences in brand new ways.
Earlier programming investment in both BBC and Independent productions is about to start bearing fruit. Shows such as Planet Earth, Doctor Who series three, Torchwood (the new sci-fi drama from Russell T Davies), Life on Mars (Kudos) and the sumptuous Hotel Babylon (Carnival Films) are now a core part of BBC Worldwide's programming catalogue with healthy pre-sales.
Finally, as High Definition (HD) programming extends into a growing number of global homes, the business will look to expand its television catalogue to include programmes which offer the crystal clear sound and vivid pictures that broadcasters and audiences are looking for.
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