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The independent TV sector’s revenues have shot up by 150% in the two decades since the Terms of Trade were introduced, according to a Pact report.

The indie body has published its Celebrating 20 Years of Terms of Trade report, which sets out the impact of its move to transform the sector from a cottage industry into one empowered to grow and innovate through greater control of programme rights.

Following the passing of the Communications Act in 2003, which laid out the terms, indies’ international revenues grew by 649% through a greater ability to secure programme and format exports and inward investment from internal commissions.

Back in 20023, British public service broadcasters enjoyed a near-monopoly of the indie sector, accounting for around 90% of all commissioning spend. By 2022, this was down to 46% as revenue streams diversified.

Pact has re-secured the terms on five occasions since 2003, and the current Media Bill includes measures to safeguard them for the future. It states that for PSBs to meet their 25% indie quota, all commissioned programmes – irrespective of linear or non-linear platform - must be subject to the Terms of Trade.

“Terms of Trade have seen the UK production sector change beyond recognition, unleashing the entrepreneurialism of independent producers to change the narrative – from a cottage industry undermined by market failure to a jewel in the crown of the UK’s creative sector,” the report said.

Some of 2024's biggest hits are made by indies and have recorded strong online viewing figures, including Little Gem's ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, Hungry Bear Media's reboot of Gladiators for BBC1, and series two of Studio Lambert's The Traitors, also for BBC1. 

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