In the 12 months to March 31, 2013, the company reported a 1% rise in headline profit. Profit before tax, excluding gains and losses on disposals, was up 21%. The company also grew headline sales by 3%.

BBC Worldwide exists to support the BBC public service mission and to maximise profits on its behalf. This year, BBC Worldwide returned £156m (2011/12: £216m) to the BBC, bringing total returns to the BBC to over £1bn since 2007. Returns are down 28% since 2011/12. However, last year’s returns included a £73m one-off dividend relating to the sale of BBC Magazines. Returns for 2012/13 increased by 9% excluding these one-off proceeds.

BBC Worldwide’s 34 branded international channels have continued to drive revenues, through launching new operations, widening distribution and increasing advertising sales.

Announcing the results, Tim Davie, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide and Director, Global, said:

“BBC Worldwide’s performance has remained very robust despite the economic challenges facing the media sector, with particular growth in programme sales and our international channels. 2013/14 will be a transformational year for the company with a re-focused strategy that maximises opportunities presented by new markets and technology. This will ensure BBC Worldwide remains a world-class content company that inspires audiences around the world and helps build the reputation and the commercial success of the global BBC.”

BBC Worldwide invested £176m in content in 2012/13. Investment in distribution rights was £104m, of which £74m was into BBC commissions. £91m was returned to independent rights holders through upfront rights investment, profit share and royalties.