BBC Worldwide Showcase 2014, Liverpool – A raft of British drama sales has been announced at BBC Worldwide Showcase 2014 (February 23-26) where 725 of the world’s top TV buyers have arrived at Liverpool to screen the best of British content. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has recently sold over 670 hours of drama including Atlantis, Luther, Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise S3 and A Young Doctor’s Notebook amongst many others to broadcasters around the world.
The growing demand for British content in Asia has seen China become the third country, after Russia and the U.K., to premiere Sherlock Series 3. On January 2, 2014, Youku, a prominent internet portal in China, received 49 million hits for the first episode and BesTV, the pioneer in IPTV in China, received a viewership of 1.7 million for the series in the month of January. Japan’s WOWOW has licensed A Young Doctor’s Notebook S1, Fleming and detective series DCI Banks S3 and the state broadcaster, NHK, has bought Sherlock S3 and Unlocking Sherlock. More British crime dramas find a home in Japan with AXN Mystery picking up Father Brown S2, Ripper Street S2 and Death in Paradise S3. Meanwhile, KBS in South Korea has snapped up Atlantis and over in Hong Kong, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm, has been sold by BBC Worldwide to the main terrestrial broadcaster TVB.
“In the last five years, and more recently in Asia, we’ve seen a significant increase in sales of British drama overseas, partly fuelled by the overwhelming success of titles such as Doctor Who and Sherlock. Buyers are realising that U.K. content can really provide an alternative to U.S. fare as audiences recognise the quality of British dramas for their high production values, unique British culture and humour, as well as the creative ideas,” said Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Worldwide.
Atlantis, BBC One’s highly acclaimed prime time series, will be broadcast in Australia on Foxtel’s FOX8 channel. Closer to home, BBC Worldwide has sold two series of Call the Midwife to French channel D8 and has concluded major drama package deals with Italian broadcasters Mediaset and Rai. Mediaset will be premiering Sherlock (Series 1-3), The Paradise and Call The Midwife to Italian audiences in a package which saw them buy over 200 hours of drama content from BBC Worldwide. Elsewhere on Rai, Luther Series 1-3 will air on the main free-to-air channel in Italy for the first time along with Misfits season 5. Portugal’s commercial channel Zon has picked up Burton and Taylor, Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond and A Young Doctor’s Notebook along with a raft of other titles totalling 22 hours while Germany’s Degeto will be airing Sherlock S3, The Challenger and Quirke.
Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East have also been busy buying up a huge range of British content. Russia’s Domashny channel has acquired 63 hours of drama including Ripper Street, The Paradise and Luther and BBC Worldwide has concluded its first fiction package deal with Georgia’s Imedi.
Further south, Atlantis and Burton & Taylor have gone to Turkey’s NTV while Greek pay TV platform OTE has bought a package including all three series of Luther and Atlantis. HOT in Israel has signed up for drama titles including Fleming and Sherlock, and the Tardis travels to the Middle East as Al Jazeera Children’s Channel snaps up the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, Doctor Who S8 and the Doctor Who Christmas 2013 special The Time of the Doctor.