Network TV Production Spend up in Scotland, say Regulators

The amount of money invested in network programme production in Scotland has risen £15 million in the past four years – according to figures released today by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

Says the watchdog’s annual communications market report, spend in Scotland by the four public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five – rose from £50 million to £65 million between 2006 and last year.

Meantime, the nation's share of UK-wide i.e. network, hours across the PSB channels has almost doubled in the space of two years, rising 1.5 per cent between 2008 and 2009.

In terms of non-network production in Scotland – programming exclusive to Scottish viewers – the BBC and STV allocated £50 million last year; an increase of under one per cent year-on-year, albeit against the backdrop of a 31 per cent drop from £72 million in 2004.

Scotland’s share of total spending on UK nations and regions programming stands at 19 per cent, up from 16 per cent in 2008, the reports adds.

Today’s figures represent “improving news for Scottish broadcasting”, said director of Ofcom, Vicki Nash.

Nash conceded the one per cent increase in non-network programming was “modest”, though stressed Scotland was the only UK nation to register a rise; Wales and Northern Ireland posted reductions in spend of 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

She commented: “Scotland is bucking the trend. Wales and Northern Ireland have both seen falls. It is a modest increase but is heading in the right direction.

“Coupled with that modest increase in spend comes an increase in hours. While there has been a reduction in the amount of news and current affairs programmes for viewers in Scotland, there has been an increase in other programmes, largely accounted for by STV who have adopted a strategy of opting more out of the network and producing more programmes in Scotland.”