‘Given what we have all endured, there is much to celebrate in this year’s survey’

As in wider society, the common view in TV is that while we are a long way from the nadir of 2020’s lockdown, we’re not out of the woods yet. In 2021, producers battled burnout, Covid-related red tape, talent and insurance cost hikes and ever-shrinking margins as a scarred industry reconfigured itself.

Zoom remained both a blessing and a curse, a gamechanger for creatives with access needs and an open door for cash-strapped regional indies to speak to commissioners in London, but also a headache for managers and young entrants to the industry alike. We may now be entering the ‘new normal’ of hybrid working, but at what cost to creativity and innovation?

There are reasons to be cheerful, though – two-thirds of our respondents are more optimistic about the year ahead than in last year’s report. And while the overall market might not yet have returned to pre-Covid levels, like-for-like revenues of the 98 indies who reported both last year and this year have tipped back over £2bn.

In our main table, we have this year for the first time included three years of data to ascertain to what extent 2020’s challenges remain a blip in companies’ overall journeys.

Given what we have all endured, there is much to celebrate in this year’s survey, with the hope that, in time, it will come to be seen as a stepping stone to the recovery of this resilient industry.

  • Robin Parker is the editor of the Indie Survey


To qualify for the Broadcast Indie Survey, producers have to have had at least one piece of commissioned programming broadcast in 2021, and still be in business. Any omissions are therefore no longer trading, had no shows on air last year, or chose not to complete the survey.

Companies are ranked by their 2021 turnover, or the most recent full year for which figures are available. Where turnovers are equal, the company with the biggest UK turnover is ranked higher.

Our thanks to ACF Investment Bank for casting an expert eye over these figures. We also polled companies that own indies. Some opted not to break down the turnover of their individual subsidiaries, so these are not listed in the main league table, but their turnovers are included within those of their owners where possible.

Individual broadcaster league tables, ranking indies by volume and spend, were supplied by the broadcasters themselves or independent analysis.