Strategic Priority 2:
We have cemented our position as the number one commercial producer in the UK and a leading indie producer in Europe and the US.”
Grow international content business
Growing a scaled international content business is central to our strategy as an integrated producer broadcaster. As ITV creates and owns more content, our channels provide a platform to showcase our programmes before distributing them across multiple platforms in the UK and internationally.
The strong global demand for content from broadcasters and platform owners provides a significant opportunity for ITV Studios. We estimate that the global content market is growing at about 5% per annum, with some genres such as drama growing more quickly than others. To capitalise on this, our strategy remains to develop, own and manage content rights in genres that return and travel internationally, namely drama, entertainment and factual entertainment.
In 2015 we again delivered strong growth with revenues up 33% to £1,237 million (2014: £933 million) and EBITA up 27% to £206m (2014: £162 million). This builds on the significant growth we have achieved over the last few years, more than doubling revenues from £600m in 2009 to over £1.2 billion in 2015. This growth has been achieved organically as well as through a mix of acquisitions, partnerships, investments and talent deals.
Hell’s Kitchen USA
Broadcast on the Fox Network and returned for a 14th series in the US in 2015. It has been sold to 196 countries.
ITV Studios has three production divisions – ITV Studios UK, ITV America and ITV Studios Rest of World. The US and UK are the dominant creative markets, with the US the largest exporter of scripted content and the UK the world leader for exported formats.
Over the last few years we have built scale in these key markets, developing a portfolio of successful series and formats. We have made 16 acquisitions since 2012 mainly in the UK and US and also more recently Talpa Media in the Netherlands. Our original business (excluding all acquisitions we have made) continues to perform well, delivering a 5% compound annual growth rate since 2009, although production businesses do not deliver straight-line revenue growth.
ITV Studios UK performed strongly in 2015 with overall revenues up 19%, with good growth in sales to ITV and to other UK broadcasters. With the acquisition of Mammoth Screen and Twofour Group we have strengthened our production capability across the genres of drama, entertainment, factual entertainment and comedy, as well as helping to drive further growth in our off-ITV commissions. We have delivered series such as The Graham Norton Show (BBC1), 24 Hours in A&E (Channel 4), 10,000 BC (Channel 5), and following these recent acquisitions our portfolio includes Poldark (BBC), The Voice (BBC), Educating Cardiff (Channel 4) and Posh Pawn (Channel 4).
ITV Studios UK is also focused on growing its share of original content commissioned on the ITV main channel. In 2015 ITV Studios delivered 60% of the total spend on original commissions on the ITV main channel. This is a similar proportion to 2014 but in terms of revenue, total sales to Broadcast increased by 12%. New commissions delivered to ITV include Thunderbirds Are Go!, Ninja Warrior UK, Home Fires, Unforgotten and Jekyll & Hyde.
ITV America also had a strong year with revenues up 36% as it benefitted from the delivery of major new dramas and a high volume of programmes from our stable portfolio of unscripted series, including Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars and two series of Hell’s Kitchen USA.
Scottish crime drama produced by ITV Studios UK for the BBC. Currently in its third series in the UK and has been sold to 120 countries.
We saw good growth across ITV Studios Rest of World (RoW) with revenues up 124%, where our production bases in Australia, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Nordics produce original content as well as local versions of ITV Studios formats. This division benefitted from the significant acquisition of Talpa Media in the year and also delivered a number of new and returning commissions including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in Denmark and Australia, The Chase in Norway, Come Dine With Me in Sweden, The Chase, Quizduell and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in Germany and A Mother’s Son in France.
In total in 2015 we produced over 7,000 hours of content by our 58 labels, supplying over 90 channels. We have delivered good revenue growth across our three production divisions and we have cemented our position as the number one commercial producer in the UK and have become a leading independent producer in Europe and the US. Over half of our revenues now come from outside the UK as we are becoming an increasingly international business.
To become increasingly international we must continue to expand our portfolio of successful series and formats that return and that can be distributed globally. We have a strong mix of programmes across genres and also across their content life cycle which balances our risk and financial exposure. We continue to invest in our pipeline of ideas to ensure that we are adding to our catalogue of programmes every year.
Demand for drama is growing strongly as standout, original content becomes brand defining for both broadcasters and OTT players in an increasingly competitive global environment. We are looking to leverage our network relationships and international distribution network, to expand our global scripted business and develop a strong portfolio of international and returning drama.
Reflecting the Group’s strong financial position and cash generation, we are now able to finance larger-scale scripted projects through working capital. The production cost is partly funded by the initial sale of the series to the broadcaster, while the deficit is recovered through distribution revenue from selling the finished product globally to other broadcasters and platforms. We balance our financial exposure through our portfolio approach, with successful international dramas offsetting the risk that we will not recover the full deficit on every show.
During 2015 we have delivered three major drama series in the US, The Good Witch, Aquarius and Texas Rising, of which The Good Witch and Aquarius have been recommissioned. In the UK we have also delivered or have in production Mr Selfridge s4, Endeavour s3, Poldark s2 and Vera s6 which all have international appeal.
We continue to perform well internationally in the entertainment and factual entertainment genres. In response to continued demand from networks, we have grown a solid portfolio of high volume, high margin formats including Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars, Come Dine with Me, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Hell’s Kitchen USA and The Chase.
Over the last few years we have strengthened our exposure to this genre with a number of partnerships, including in 2015, Possessed Television and Cats on the Roof and most significantly Talpa Media, which we acquired in April 2015 which is focused on developing new entertainment formats that attract large audiences and have significant commercial potential. Benefitting from the creative input of John De Mol and his management team, who will continue to work with ITV, Talpa has created 75 shows and has aired programmes in more than 180 countries over the last six years, including The Voice, The Voice Kids, I Love My Country, Dating in the Dark and Dance Dance Dance.
We have a very strong international pipeline of programmes and brands across genres and across their content life cycle. New programmes include Victoria, Cold Feet, Tutankhamun, Houdini & Doyle, Married by Mom and Dad and Killing Fields and returning programmes which include Aquarius, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Home Fires, The Good Witch, Poldark, Endeavour, Vera, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Voice, The Voice Kids, Pawn Stars, Come Dine With Me, The Chase, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Countdown.
ITV Studios is now a global business and going forward we aim to utilise our scale to grow our market share and expand the number of networks and OTT players we work with, particularly in the US. With a strong portfolio of new and returning programmes we will build further scale internationally, both organically and through partnerships and acquisitions, as we continue to reduce our reliance on the UK market.
Demand for drama is growingly strongly as standout, original content becomes brand defining for both broadcasters and OTT players.”