Disc Sale Declines Undermine BBC Worldwide Fiscal Revenue

BBC Worldwide July 11 said it generated £1.04 billion ($1.38 billion) in fiscal year revenue, ended March 31. That compared to revenue of £1.05 billion ($1.39 billion) during the previous-year period.

The BBC, which combined BBC Worldwide with BBC Studios in April into a single entity, attributed the revenue dip in part to declining packaged media sales, including DVD.

Regardless, pre-tax earnings increased 42% to £118.3 million ($157 million) from £83.5 million ($110 million) last year. The BBC said the increase reflected strong content sales, cost efficiencies across branded services and overhead savings.

Other highlights included BritBox, the North American SVOD service partnership with ITV, ended the fiscal year with 250,000 subscribers after bowing service in Canada.

BBC Worldwide entered into several new global deals during the fiscal year, including with Shanghai Media Group Pictures (a leading Chinese media company), which will see an expansion of the “Doctor Who” brand in China and partnerships with Foxtel, ABC, Sky and Fetch were cemented with new or continued deals in Australia and New Zealand.

Original program, “Blue Planet II,” proved a major success with international audiences, with the premiere becoming the most-watched ad-supported nature episode in nearly eight years on BBC America. “Planet Earth: Blue Planet II” amassed more than 250 million views on Chinese VOD platform Tencent in Q4, ending Dec. 31, 2017.


BBC Studios Re-Launches, Seeks Chinese Funding

Looking to up its mojo as both a distributor and producer of original programing, the BBC Group April 4 re-launched BBC Studios following its merger last November with BBC Worldwide.

The revamped studio will see content through the full life cycle of development, commissioning, production and co-production, sales and distribution and will underpin the creation of new BBC-owned intellectual property.

Headed by CEO Tim Davie and Mark Linsey, chief creative officer, BBC Studios fields a 3,000-person workforce and budget of more than $1.9 billion. It is eyeing global co-production opportunities in Australia and China, recently opening offices in Sydney and Beijing, respectively.

Executive producer Matthew Springford will be based at the BBC office in Beijing along with the BBC Studios’ distribution team working with Chinese TV stations and digital platforms to co-develop and co-produce original content and new formats across all genres.

“BBC Studios exists to inspire audiences globally, strengthening the BBC financially and creatively, working with the very best British talent … in this new age of content,” Davie said in a statement.

No small task in the age of Netflix, which employs 5,400 people and is spending $8 billion on content in 2018, including about 700 TV shows and movies — much of it British-based.