Monday, 18 May 2015

UK Television Programme Sales Figures for 1963/64 and a Bit More

75% of the world's television programmes have pretty much always been American. and during the sixties, the BBC may have dominated domestically but independent British TV outsold the BBC at a ratio of about 3:1. So 75% of British programmes sold abroad were ITV. Well into the mid-seventies Nigeria bought in 75% of its television. Out of 100hrs, 75 were from abroad 56.5hrs were of US origin 20hrs were British and only 5 hours were BBC. It's important to bear in mind that we are talking about Nigeria who had one of the highest ratios of foreign programming beaten only by SL and Rhodesia/Zambia. Ethiopia started off 50/50 but soon ended up buying in 70%. A mitigating factor here is that TIE sold its programming at a ratio of 60%US 40%UK. So when trying to work out the most likely place for a find I would say the place where TIE sold the most DW. Unfortunately, that is SL and I think we can rule them out, so where next? Ethiopia. I know this may sound contradictory to what I posted recently but there was great turmoil from the 1974 revolution which would have hampered any recall of the prints plus the station was slowly sliding into decline but they only bought up to the Chase?

BBC Foreign sales figures extracted mainly from the BBC yearbooks but also other places:

1960 550
1961 1200
1962 3000
1963 4500
1964 6975
1965 7426
1966 11,492
1967 12,072 - 12,352 (Exact figure not given)
1968 13,852
1969 16,180

Total 77,527 sales of programmes, not prints - just BBC. Plus there regularly 300 prints being circulated in a month IIRC

  • By 1972, 1,400 films and tapes were sent out from London every month
  • At the same time, a further 600 films and tapes were circulating between one country and another
"The exploit of television programmes was at first handled in 1958 with the establishment of a business manager post. This gradually expanded until the establishment of the Television Promotions (later renamed Television Enterprises) department in 1960 under a general manager. In its first year, the department saw the sale of 550 programmes overseas with a turnover of £234,000, with a further 1,200 programmes sold the following year. Radio programmes were only exploited on the same level with the creation of the Radio Enterprises department in 1965. However, following the retirement of the Radio Enterprises general manager in 1969, the two departments were merged to form the BBC Enterprises department."

The clipping on the left is from 1975 and shows an ever increasing market for TV Programme sales into the 1970's.

"The large foreign sales achieved by ITC during the British government's exports drives of the 1960s and 1970s led to ACC receiving the Queen's Award for Export on numerous occasions until ITC's association with the broadcaster and success actually led to the demise of both ATV as a broadcaster and ITC as a production company in 1982."
As we can see from the sales breakdowns (below) in 1963/64 the ITV material did best in the middle east and BBC material sold best in the more general category of 'Commonwealth'. 

Figures for COI material are below:

Here we have a more detailed BBC sales figures breakdown below:


Variety, 26 February 1964 newspaper clipping at and

National Archives file: FO 953/2202

BBC Yearbooks:

The Guardian Newspaper