British film, TV industries robust in 2007

Stats show highest annual surplus rise since '01

LONDON -- The U.K. may be firmly in the grip of the global recession, but the latest figures issued by the Office of National Statistics on Wednesday for 2007 show the British film and television industries were in rude health at the beginning of 2008.

Stats from the ONS show the film industry posted a net surplus in film and TV services of 232 million pounds (currently $344 million) last year, an 81% rise on the 2006 tally of 128 million pounds ($190 million). That surplus, according to the research, was the highest since 2001.

Exports from the sectors also rocketed 15% in 2007, hitting 1 billion pounds ($1.48 billion) last year, up from 913 million pounds ($1.35 billion) in 2006.

Royalty receipts from exports rose 11% to 646 million pounds ($958 million) in 2007, from 582 million pounds ($863 million) the previous year. And 403 million pounds ($598 million) were garnered from production services in 2007, a 22% rise on the previous year's tally.

U.K. Film Council records go back to 1995, and the organization said Wednesday that the latest figures are the highest since then.

Imports also indicated a 4% uptick in 2007, hitting 818 million pounds ($1.21 billion), with a whopping 185% surge in production services to 245 million pounds ($363 million). That uptick was tempered by a fall in royalties, which slumped 18% from 2006 to 573 million pounds ($850 million).

Exports to the U.S. increased significantly by 81% to 603 million pounds ($894 million), which equated to 57% of total exports. The U.K. industry pushed 32% of its output to Europe and 11% to the rest of the world, the ONS said. The U.S. share was back to the level it attained in 2005.