The UK has for some time been a real leader when it comes to television. Whether it’s via scripted entertainment, reality shows or something else entirely, the country has always impressed within the industry. Last year alone, British TV exports raked in an impressive £1.48 billion.

Studios have seen the success of series such as Planet Earth and Strictly Come Dancing, and wanted to replicate those formats abroad to increase the cash in their own coffers. For the large part, they have been successful in doing so.

The UK's top five export markets 2019/2020, courtesy of Betway
The UK's top five export markets 2019/2020, courtesy of Betway

As expected, the United States of America is the leading export market for UK television, with revenue totalling £466 million in 2020. A little more surprisingly, France sits in second with current revenue of £102 million, followed by Australia with £98 million, Canada with £80 million and the Nordics with £77 million.

Those who tuned into The Great British Bake Off during its 2021 premiere last night (September 21st, 2021) may not have known that the show has been licensed to a whopping 26 international territories, joining a bulk of other factual programs that made up 28% of the UK export revenue in 2020.

Bringing their country’s own flair to proceedings however, a number of scripted British shows have been adapted, including The Office, Chernobyl, His Dark Materials, Doctor Foster, Luther, Doctor Who and Misfits.

Unscripted formats are also beloved, with the likes of Love Island, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Got Talent, Come Dine With Me, Gogglebox and First Dates all proving to be popular.

Britain's big money makers, courtesy of Betway
Britain's big money makers, courtesy of Betway

It's studio-based talent shows that remain one of the most sought-after formats, with Got Talent enjoying 78 global sales in 2020, just ahead of Strictly Come Dancing which secured 63, whilst The X Factor and Idol both made 56 apiece.

So, what exactly does this mean for the future? All good things, according to analysts. The UK's entertainment and media revenue is expected to rise up to a stunning £87.9 billion in 2025, which indicates an increase in TV exports, quality and quantity.

With Brexit still very much having an effect on the country however, there could be some unexpected bumps in the road that take the industry by surprise. For example, the European Union are now looking to improve “cultural diversity” so that television shows from smaller countries are given the opportunity to shine.

The UK therefore, will likely be looking to improve their relationships with other territories, such as Asia and Latin America. It's going to be a very interesting few years, that's for sure!

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