ITV warns 'niche' TV shows face uncertain future

ITV has issued a warning over funding credit:Bang Showbiz
ITV has issued a warning over funding credit:Bang Showbiz

ITV has warned that "niche" TV shows are at risk of not being made.

The broadcaster has observed that the TV industry is in the midst of a funding crisis and has warned the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that “margins for very distinctive British content are narrowing” as international audiences were becoming less keen on British-centric content.

ITV told a committee: "We commissioned ‘Mr Bates’ in the knowledge that it would be challenging to make a profit but we felt the responsibility to tell the postmasters story was important.

"Unfortunately, rising costs, lower commissioning budgets and international markets/clients experiencing the same economic/sector specific challenges as UK broadcasters mean it is becoming even harder for ITV to take risks like ‘Mr Bates’."

ITV observed that certain TV shows have a much broader appeal than "UK-focused dramas".

As a result, the broadcaster may be forced to focus its attention and finances on programmes that have a "global appeal" and are, therefore, more financially lucrative.

ITV explained: "It's no secret that the cost and risk of making very UK-specific dramas which may have limited international appeal is becoming more challenging as costs increase and it becomes essential to assemble financing for drama from many different partners to get projects off the ground.

“ITV has an outstanding record in making these sorts of UK-focused dramas and we will continue to do that but it is harder and harder to make the economics work in a way that is less true of dramas with obvious global appeal."