John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said: “BBC Worldwide has achieved a three-fold increase in profits in the last three years. We have exceeded expectations in most of our businesses over the past 12 months, reflecting healthy returns from our new Channels business, strong TV catalogue sales and growing demand internationally for BBC formats. We are now investing to build our digital offering and strengthen our position in markets such as the US, China, India and Australia, creating one of the world's premier content networks.”
The full-year results show in the twelve months to 31 March 2007, record pre-tax profits of £111.1 million including exceptional items (2005/6: £89.4 million), on sales of £810.4 million including BBC Worldwide's share of joint ventures (2005/06: £785.1 million). The proportion of sales to outside the UK was up by 5% year on year to 46%. Investment in BBC-commissioned programmes was also up at £96.3 million from £89.0 million in 2005/6, with total programme investment at £103.6 million.
Following a strategic review and re-organisation three years ago, BBC Worldwide is now focused on profit and growth. It operates six businesses: Global Channels, Global TV Sales, Content & Production, Magazines, Home Entertainment and Digital Media. Both through its own operations and via partnerships and joint ventures, BBC Worldwide seeks to drive commercial benefit from rights and content on behalf of the BBC and other UK rights holders. In the UK its products and services help to extend audiences' appreciation of BBC programmes. Internationally the company promotes the best of British talent and culture across a wide range of media.
Etienne de Villiers, non-executive chairman, BBC Worldwide, said: “BBC Worldwide has reached a watershed. It has proven capable of delivering against a demanding business plan with commercial efficiency; it now is poised to grow significantly with new product lines and in exciting markets.”
Added Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC: “BBC Worldwide continues to deliver excellent returns for licence payers from the content they help fund us to make. Its success is increasingly critical to our ability to invest in original creative programming for audiences in the UK, and the company is playing major part in taking those programmes out to the rest of the world.”