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UK’s Globally Beloved TV Exports

Love Island, Luther, The Office, Doctor Who – the list of amazing UK shows goes on and on, and it’s challenging to pick just one favourite. But do people in other countries agree? Check this exciting research from Betway Casino to find out!

From Local Hit to a Globally Recognized Icon

With one of the most prominent contributions to the television industry, it is no wonder that plenty of UK shows are known worldwide. Since UK shows keep gaining popularity internationally, we decided to take a look at the numbers and make a compilation of its most-watched TV exports today.

Largest TV Show Export Markets for the UK

Notably, UK’s largest TV show export markets and the revenue they brought in 2020 are as follows:

  • USA – £466 million
  • France – £102 million
  • Australia – £98 million
  • Canada – £80 million
  • Nordics – £77 million

Top Local Adaptations of UK Shows

The UK is exporting plenty of shows of various formats. Here’s an overview of the local TV show adaptations that have gained the most recognition so far.

Scripted Formats

This category features TV series, sitcoms, and dramas. Here are some of the viewers’ top picks among the UK’s scripted show adaptations:

  • The Office
  • Chernobyl
  • His Dark Materials
  • Doctor Foster
  • Misfits
  • Doctor Who
  • Luther

These shows have been incredibly successful in the UK and have proven to fit foreign audiences well.

Unscripted Shows

This group contains such formats as reality shows and talent competitions. The UK shows from this category that gained popularity overseas are:

  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
  • Love Island
  • Got Talent
  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • Planet Earth
  • Great British Bake Off
  • Come Dine With Me
  • Gogglebox
  • First Dates

Most Renowned UK TV Exports of All Time

In this section, we listed the UK formats that have outperformed the rest by four criteria:

1.     Revenues

The Great British Bake Off was sold to 26 international markets and generated 28% of the UK’s export revenue in 2020.

Another great show, Top Gear, earned the UK approximately £50 million in export revenue and spread over 214 countries worldwide.

2.     Number of Views

The US adaptation of The Office gained the title of the most-watched show on Netflix and summed up to 57 billion minutes of streaming in 2020.

Dancing with the Stars (Strictly Come Dancing) also has an outstanding 500 million spectators globally with over 270 seasons filmed.

3.     Scale of Reach

The widest reach registered among UK export formats belongs to reality shows, such as Got Talent (78 global sales in 2020) and Strictly Come Dancing (63 sales), The X Factor, and (56 sales).

Dramas, such as Downton Abbey and Vera, were also incredibly popular, with export sales in over 250 countries. Besides, crime series, including Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Midsomer Murders, brought impressive sales covering approximately 200 territories each.

4.     Adaptations That Outperformed the Originals

The US adaptation of The Office was a grand success that fit the expectations of the local market. The US version now has an 8.9 star IMDb rating, outperforming its UK counterpart (8.5 stars).

The UK format Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has encouraged the creation of 100 versions adapted to markets overseas, with the top views in the US ( average audience of 5.6 million) compared to the UK’s 2018 revival series with Jeremy Clarkson (5.06 million viewers).

How Does the Future Look for UK TV Exports?

The UK’s entertainment and media industry is already demonstrating outstanding results and is not planning to stop there – its revenue is forecasted to reach £87.9 billion in 2025. What’s more, subscription video on demand (SVOD) is currently accounting for 38% of the UK’s international sales and is expected to reach 1.495 billion by 2026.

However, the EU is thought to leave the position of the UK’s second-biggest TV show export market due to Brexit and the decision to give smaller countries the place in the spotlight to foster cultural diversity. Nevertheless, this situation offers opportunities for the UK to strengthen its position in other markets, such as the ones of the US, Asia, and Latin America.



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