Under pressure, how UK TV is changing on the screen

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Under pressure, how UK TV is changing on the screen

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Under pressure, how UK TV is changing on the screen
Analysis of peak time TV programming on the main five PSB channels from 2002 to today shows a decline in the number of UK dramas broadcast—predominantly due to a contraction by ITV—though this has steadied since 2010
The resolve of the PSBs to maintain the number of dramas broadcast, despite rising costs, will mean an inevitable increase in the number of repeats and cheaper programming
A number of other observations are eye-catching: a greater turnover of drama series, entertainment formats failing at a higher rate and celebrity being treated as a panacea


Drama—less of it, but more new series

  • Scheduling is exacerbating the drama shortfall
  • Picking up the drama slack

Entertainment formats—escalating failure, more celebrities!

Final thoughts—innovation running headfirst into commercial realities

List of charts/tables

Figure 1. Average current season of PSB British dramas*, 7pm-10pm

Figure 2. Number of new PSB British dramas* premiering, 7pm-10pm

Figure 3. PSB British drama series*, 7pm-10pm

Figure 4. All drama series*, 7pm-10pm, by PSB channel

Figure 5. Average number of episodes per PSB* drama series†, 7pm-10pm

Figure 6. US drama series on PSB channels, 7pm-10pm

Figure 7. Strip scheduling of drama series‡, BBC1 and ITV main, 7pm-10pm

Figure 8. PSB factual entertainment minutes broadcast, 7pm-10pm

Figure 9. Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away! on Channel 5 group channels

Figure 10. Number of PSB entertainment format programmes, 7pm-10pm

Figure 11. PSB entertainment formats that only lasted one year, 7pm-10pm

Figure 12. PSB entertainment formats, 7pm-10pm

Figure 13. New or one-off programmes between 6pm and midnight