Television Production in Transition: Independence, Scale and Sustainability

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Television production is a vital component of the UK creative industries and a sector whose performance has important cultural and economic ramifications. This project investigated major changes in the structure of ownership of the UK television production industry. Recent transformations in ownership, characterized by increasing consolidation, have raised concern about the ability of the ‘independent’ production sector to survive and flourish in an increasingly globalized and competitive environment for television. This three-year project funded by the UK Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) investigated the relationship between independence, scale and economic sustainability in the television production sector and related implications for public policy.

The project was carried out from April 2017 to October 2020, led by Gillian Doyle (Principal Investigator), Professor of Media Economics at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research in the University of Glasgow working with Co-Investigator Richard Paterson, former Head of Research and Scholarship at the British Film Institute.

Using case studies, the scope of the investigation covered:

  • the relationship between, on one hand, size and corporate configuration and, on the other, the ability of production companies to maximise the value of their IPRs and to achieve sustained economic success;
  • the conditions that govern creative decision-making and content in the television production industry and how these are affected by differing corporate configurations;
  • the role of changing digital distribution technologies in encouraging consolidation and strategies of horizontal, vertical and transnational expansion in the television production industry;
  • implications for public policy and regulation.

Findings have been disseminated via publications including a project monograph published by Palagrave MacMillan in 2021

As well as contributing to academic knowledge and theorisation, these have enhanced strategic business knowledge concerning the production sector and helped to improve understanding of the policy measures required to support the success and competitiveness of indigenous television production companies in an increasingly globalised and competitive distribution environment.



  • Doyle, G (2023), ‘Insights for Policymakers: Television Production, International Trade and Pressures to Consolidate’, Policy & Evidence Centre for the Creative Industries (PEC). At:

  • Paterson, R (2024), ‘Moving Across Platforms and Cultures: From BBC to Syfy to Amazon Prime: the Adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle’, in Dunleavy, T and Weissman, E (Eds.) TV Drama in the Multiplatform Era: Transnational Co-Production and Cultural Specificity, London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp35-56. 
  • Doyle, G (2022), 'Organisations as ecosystems: the case of television production', in Baumann, S (Ed), Handbook on Digital Business Ecosystems: Strategies, Platforms, Technologies, Governance and Societal Challenges, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp80-92.
  • Doyle, G., Paterson, R and Barr, K, (2021), Television Production in Transition:
    Independence, Scale, Sustainability and the Digital Challenge, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Paterson, R (2021), Handmaidens of consolidation in the UK television production sector, Journal of Media Business Studies, DOI: 10.1080/16522354.2021.1952037
  • Doyle, G.  and Barr, K.  (2019) ‘After the gold rush: industrial re-configuration in the television production sector and content’. Media, Culture & Society, 41(7):939-957.
  • Doyle, G (2019), Public policy, independent television production and the digital challenge. Journal of Digital Media and Policy, 10(2), pp. 145-162. 
  • Doyle, G (2018), 'Television and the Development of the Data Economy: Data analysis, Power and the Public Interest', International Journal of Digital Television, 9 (1): pp. 53-68.
  • Doyle, G (2018), 'Television production: configuring for sustainability in the digital era', Media, Culture & Society, 40 (2), pp. 285-295.


  • Doyle, G (2023), Keynote on 'Consolidation in the Transnational TV Production Sector' at the 10th IFIG (Digital Capital and Communication) Symposium at Uskudar University in Istanbul in May 2023.
  • Doyle, G (2020), Ownership reconfiguration in TV production sector: performance and content, MeCCSA Conference 2020, University of Brighton, January 8-10.
  • Gillian Doyle & Kenny Barr (2019) Industrial Re‐configuration in the Television Production Sector, Performance and Content: Knowledge and Information as a Source of Advantage, European Media Management Association (EMMA) Conference 2019, Limassol, Cyprus, 5-7 June 2019
  • Michael O’Neill (2019) Television Production in Transition: Patterns, Systems and Leadership in UK television Drama Production, European Media Management Association (EMMA) Conference 2019, Limassol, Cyprus, 5-7 June 2019
  • Kenny Barr (2019) ‘Under the Hammer: Collective Licensing and Music Copyright in UK Television Production’, European Media Management Association (EMMA) Conference 2019, Limassol, Cyprus, 5-7 June 2019
  • Gillian Doyle (May 2018), Keynote on ‘TV Distribution in the Digital Era: PSBs, SvoDs, Content and Sustainability' at Screen Industries in East-Central Europe: An ICA Pre-Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Gillian Doyle (May 2018), Plenary address on ‘TV and the Rise of the Data Economy: Analytics, Power and the Public Interest’ at World Media Economics and Management Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Kenneth Barr, Michael O’Neill, Gillian Doyle, and Richard Paterson, (2018), Television Production: Changing Industry, Corporate Ownership and Content, Media Industry Studies Conference, KCL, 18-20 April 2018.
  • Gillian Doyle (2017), ‘Value Creation and Sustainability in the Television Production Sector’, presentation at the European Media Management Association (EMMA) Conference 2017 at University of Ghent on May 11-13, 2017.
  • Richard Paterson (2017), 'The Politics of Entrepreneurship in Early Independent Television Production in the UK'. CAMEo, Univeristy of Leicester on September 6-8, 2017. 


  • Doyle, G (2024), Invited Address on ‘Consolidation in UK TV Production:
    Independence, Scale and Sustainability' at the Faculty of Social Sciences PhD School, University of Warsaw in January 2024.
  • Doyle G (2020), Invited expert in discussions about the future of public service broadcasting and associated public policy measures as part of the Small Screen: Big Debate review, organised by Ofcom on September 9th.
  • Gillian Doyle (2017), Invited address on 'Ownership, Data, Power and Content' at the international symposium on Private Television in Europe organized by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, SMIT/imec and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) in Brussels on 8th June 2017.