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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
British favourites boost TV exports
Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder is narrated by actor Neil Morrissey
British exports to the US have risen by nearly 20% in a year, aided by the popularity of shows such as the Weakest Link and Bob the Builder.

Sales to the US account for nearly a third of all exports from the UK and the market is worth 136m, according to the British Television Distributors Association (BTDA).

Its report stated that 2001 was a positive year for exports, following a static period.

And children's TV show Bob the Builder has boosted the economy further with the success of video sales and merchandising.

Anne Robinson
Anne Robinson was picked to the US host of The Weakest Link
With international exports in the TV industry worth 427m in total, up 1.2% from the previous year, the latest figures show that the UK makes a large contribution.

"Worldwide, the UK is second only to the US in terms of its TV export sales and provided we continue to produce quality programming, even in difficult trading conditions, this should remain the case," said Rupert Dilnott-Cooper.

Mr Dilnott-Cooper is chief executive officer of Carlton International and co-chair of BTDA.

"However, in recent years, the industry has become much more hit driven and a runaway international success for one or two shows can dramatically alter these figures," he added.

Brit Awards
The Brit Awards was seen in 70 countries
But is was not all good news as figures showed money from licensing programmes and merchandising fell by 20.8% worldwide.

The drop follows two extremely successful years which saw increases in spending on merchandising from shows such as the Teletubbies.

Sales to France and Spain also dropped by as much as 26%.

Anne Robinson's quiz show The Weakest Link proved the most successful export with 76 countries buying up shows.

It has also proved a money-spinner as worldwide TV channels scrambled to buy up the format so they could product it with their own host, questions and contestants.

Slump

The US famously bought up the show and decided to keep the acerbic Robinson as its quizmaster.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? also proved popular, with the quiz show appearing around the globe.

Format sales shot up by 51.4% in 2001, with Who Wants to be a Millionaire? making history when it became the first format ever sold to South American countries Peru and Ecuador.

But US networks have seen a slump in viewers for both The Weakest Link and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and have pulled them from their prime-time schedules.

The Brit Awards, which celebrates the best of music in the UK, was sold on to 70 countries.

Period dramas are also proving popular with an adaptation of Oliver Twist being snapped up by 40 nations.

See also:

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