The part-sale of BBC America to AMC Networks reduced the headline profit of BBC Worldwide down by 11.9% to £136.6 million.
The equity partnership on BBC America made the channel part of a larger portfolio of channels, though with the BBC retaining editorial control, alongside its new partner. While ratings have grown for a tenth year, a side effect is that 2014/15 revenue does not include BBC America for the majority of the second half of the year.
At the same time the corporation’s commercial division has delivered record returns to the BBC; up by almost a third to £226.5 million.
Doctor Who (pictured) was the top-selling programme of the year and has been licensed to 189 territories.
BBC Store, the new download to keep service will launch in the UK this autumn. Elsewhere, Worldwide is developing partnerships with fledging digital services were struck with the likes of Stan. and Lightbox in Australia – where digital sales were up fourfold – and the first VOD deals were secured in Africa and Poland.
Established relationships with Hulu and Netflix in the United States contributed to digital sales growth of 54.1%, surpassing linear TV sales in the region for the first time.
Tim Davie, Chief Executive, BBC Worldwide and Director, Global said: “We are mindful of the challenges ahead both for the BBC and the wider market. As we face these, our plan remains to execute our strategy – focusing on premium content, global brands and digital transformation – in order to keep building the market for British TV around the world while supporting those shows that UK audiences love at home.”
Outside of North America three new genre brands have been launched. Drama channel BBC First debuted in Australia in August on Foxtel’s subscription platform, delivering its most successful non-sport channel launch in a decade. It made its European debut in the Netherlands in May,
Factual entertainment BBC Brit and premium factual BBC Earth made their linear debuts in Poland in February, with both channels outperforming established rivals and breaking into the top three in their competitive sets.
The Nordics became the second market for BBC Brit and BBC Earth post year-end, followed by the launch of BBC Earth in Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe.