BBC Studios has warned that the coronavirus pandemic will “significantly affect” its ability to deliver revenues in the coming year.
In the BBC’s annual report, published Tuesday, the commercial arm of the BBC says its entering the year in a position of financial strength, but the crisis would require “preservation of cash and a tight rein on costs”.
It follows BBC Studios’ highest-ever level of content investment and its best year for content sales. BBC Studios Production was the most commissioned creator of new content in the UK in 2019.
Sales were £1,388 million up 17% as profits increased to £181 million from £159 million in 2018/19.
It’s the second year that BBC Studios has been a merged operation, including BBC Worldwide’s former activities, such as channel business UKTV that is now a wholly owned subsidiary.
Separately, BBC Global News achieved EBITDA of £2 million.
BBC World News’ weekly global audience increased to 112 million in 2020, up 12% year-on-year and up 48% from 2014. Growth was particularly strong in the United States where weekly reach increased to 32 million, up 50% year-on-year.
BBC iPlayer reached 4.8 billion requests to stream shows. There are now 9.1 million registered accounts compared to 6.4 million in the previous period.