The UK's media and entertainment sector is on the right channel with "impressive" growth against a backdrop of uncertainty

Courtney Goldsmith
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The BBC was ranked the fifth top media company in terms of revenue in Deloitte's report (Source: Getty)

Britain's media and entertainment sector remains robust amid widespread economic uncertainty as the combined revenue of the 100 largest companies nears £100bn, a new report suggests.

Revenue growth among those top 100 firms has grown 11 per cent from 2016 to a record-breaking £96.3bn in the last financial year, according to a state of the sector report by Deloitte.

"Against a backdrop of uncertainty, both politically and economically, over the last 12 months, it is reassuring to see that the UK media sector has performed robustly. The fact that this exciting and creative sector is close to £100bn in size is nothing short of impressive," said Dan Ison, lead partner for media and entertainment at Deloitte.

The business advisory firm found the depreciation in sterling since the EU referendum helped revenue to grow by £10bn over the last year.

"Managing foreign exchange risk will be an ever more important management skill in the coming years," Ison said.

"The UK’s creative economy continues to be a valued export market, and punches above its weight when it comes to sating the global appetite for media content. The future success stories in the world of film, TV, video gaming and music will be dependent on the continued preservation of the UK’s creativity," he added.

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Social media was the fastest growing sector in media over the last three years,with a compound annual growth rate of 83 per cent.

However, television production and distribution was the largest sector in terms of revenue and profit, producing a combined £40bn in revenue and £2.6bn in profit. The sector's combined profits grew 57 per cent compared with the previous year.

(Source: Deloitte)

Profitability declined at the top 100 companies as a whole from last year, however, falling 52 per cent to £4.8bn from £9.9bn in 2016. This was almost entirely due to a large reduction in profitability in the information publishing and events sector, which fell by more than £5bn, the report found.

One question the report grappled with was whether publishers that rely solely on advertising models to fund online content can compete with the success and dominance of the digital giants emerging over the last decade.

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Ison said: "The internet offers a route to a global marketplace of billions of readers, which is why the ad-funded online model has remained alluring. However, it is a model that has historically proven to be challenging to monetise, particularly for publishers who only see significant value being generated from a tiny proportion of this huge market.

“The advertising-only business model has an expiration date for some publishers. Over the past year we have seen an increasing number of news publishers earning regular income from subscribers. This is a trend that is likely to continue in order for these outlets to remain financially sustainable."

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