Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Doctor Who makes lots of money: the BBC Worldwide Annual Review

The BBC Worldwide Annual Review has just been released; this offers business and financial details on how the BBC's overseas and marketing arm has been doing over the last year (we will remind you of their remit as an organisation: "Our mission is to maximise profits on behalf of the BBC by creating, acquiring, developing and exploiting media content and media brands around the world. We are self-funded and return profits to the BBC to be reinvested in programmes and services to help keep the UK licence fee as low as possible. Our primary purpose is to bring value to the BBC in the form of profits and programme investment. We acquire the commercial rights to great programmes such as Planet Earth, Doctor Who and Top Gear and find ways of earning money from these across different media and markets. We then channel funds back to the BBC to be invested in new programmes and services.") In other words, the money to make new Doctor Who is partly derived from the funds BBC Worldwide has made by flogging merchandise and overseas sales of older Doctor Who, therefore this is all rather important for the future of the programme. The Hollywood Reporter has quite a decent summary of the BBC Worldwide financial situation, or you can just sit down and read the whole 80-page report.

So here's the relevant extracts for Doctor Who fans, along with some links to when these items have been announced in the last year: "Doctor Who, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, has continued to develop its global fan base. The Series 7 premiere was the most watched telecast in the history of BBC America and in Australia, the first ever cinema night of two episodes from Series 6 was number three at the Australian box office."

"Doctor Who, Parade’s End, The Paradise and Ripper Street all sold to over 120 territories, further cementing our reputation for providing premium quality content."

Online content
"In Apple’s iTunes, Top Gear, Sherlock and Doctor Who generated our largest downloads."

"Our increased investment in social media continued to pay dividends, with referrals from our Facebook pages remaining consistent despite changes to Facebook’s algorithms. Fans across our managed pages increased to 28m, up from 23m in 2011/12 and the most notable successes included Top Gear which now has 12.9m fans and Doctor Who with 3.1m."

"Our digital business continued to grow and was up 22.8% on last year. iTunes remained our biggest Download To Own partner and The Thick of It S4, Doctor Who S7 Part 1 and Red Dwarf X were key titles. Working closely with iTunes on promotions delivered good results...This year has seen new deals with Microsoft Xbox, BlackBerry, Nook and the Sony Entertainment Network, allowing further distribution of digital content., our direct to consumer online retail site, continues to grow. The site had 4.3m unique visitors this year and 80,000 new buyers. 223,000 (+30%) units were shipped in 2012/13, a growing proportion of which were sent to international customers."

"36,000 Universal Remote Control units have been sold; at Christmas 2012, we also launched Doctor Who Home, a collection of Doctor Who homewares, ceramics and stationery. We directly sourced these products, designing and distributing in-house."

"To mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, Royal Mail launched a celebratory range of stamps featuring all eleven incarnations of the Doctor and some of his most famous foes."

As per here.

"This year saw the introduction of augmented reality into our DVD packaging giving fans access to exclusive interactive content for key brands such as Doctor Who, Deadly 60 and Top Gear. Following the strong response, this has been extended to some clothing and poster lines. Our first ultraviolet-enabled DVDs and blu-rays were released, providing buyers of physical DVDs with access to a digital copy of their purchase via compatible devices."

"BBC Worldwide Australasia is collaborating with the New Zealand Mint to produce a commemorative legal tender featuring the TARDIS and other collectable coins for global release."

As per here.

"Other new launches included Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, our first published game on the Sony PlayStation3. However, high cost of creation and underperformance in a highly competitive sector mean we have taken an impairment charge in relation to our Games business this year."

So probably no more major Doctor Who games, from the sound of it.

Exhibits n' Things
 "BBC Worldwide Australia significantly increased its presence in Live Entertainment. Over 80,000 people attended our range of live events, such as Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular...[it] delighted audiences at the Sydney Opera House as Sydney’s Metropolitan Orchestra (conducted by Ben Foster)
performed Murray Gold’s music from the current series of Doctor Who. 16,144 total ticketed attendance"

As per here.

"In July 2012 the Doctor Who Experience, an interactive walk-through adventure and exhibition, relocated to a long-term residency in Cardiff Bay, following a one-year tenancy at London’s Olympia."

We have quite a lot of content about the Doctor Who Experience.

 Global Brands
"Global Brands manages our key brands and nascent businesses. The division also incorporates results for Lonely Planet before its sale to NC2 Media in March 2013. This year, Global Brands sales were affected by the transfer of to BBC Global News Ltd, and the closure of Good Food magazine in Australia. Headline sales were down 3.8% at £141.1m (2011/12: £146.6m) with headline losses of £26.3m (2011/12: loss of £17.3m).

The division carries the cost of managing BBC Worldwide’s brands, including the superbrands of Top Gear, Doctor Who, Dancing with the Stars, BBC Earth (the umbrella brand for the BBC’s natural history output) and Lonely Planet. Revenue from these brands is recognised across individual businesses and represents 27% of the company’s headline sales, down on last year (2011/12: 30%) due to a lower volume of programming output from Doctor Who and Top Gear, reflecting production schedules."

And this last item is the real kicker; less money for BBC Worldwide because there's less Doctor Who means that there's less money to be ploughed back in for more Doctor Who. BBC Worldwide has the strongest possible motives for hoping that they can sell a proper, full-length series next year...


James said...

Now if this were an American company, their response to lower revenue for Doctor Who would be to cut episode numbers or costs, inevitably leading to lower revenue due to people not liking fewer or much cheaper episodes. Repeat.

Guywhothinksstuff said...

Okay, first, what a great thing to see on this site. Thank you for that!
Second, ARRGH why don't they just make more? It's never made sense to me that they should reduce the number of episodes, when surely more episodes means more money?? And apparently the BBC agrees!?! GAH. I want more. I just want more.