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ITV lost £1million on Mr Bates v The Post Office

It may have been the most-watched television show of the year so far in the UK, but ITV made a £1m loss on its influential drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Managing Director of Media and Entertainment explained that one of the main reasons for the loss was the lack of international sales.

“If you’re in Lithuania, four hours on the British Post Office? Not really, thank you very much. So you can see the challenges here,” he told the Voice of the Listener & Viewer Spring Conference.

The series recorded viewing figures of 13.5m and broke all sorts of UK TV records and became the biggest drama since S6 of Line of Duty, the biggest new drama since Bodyguard and ITV’s biggest drama since Broadchurch.

However, Lygo said financially it’s not been a huge success for the channel:

“Mr Bates has made a loss of something like £1m and we can’t continually do this.

“Of course, some things are very profitable on the channel, and some things aren’t. But it’s a challenge to be able to fund some of the things that aren’t, obviously, of international appeal.

“We’re hoping this may be, because it caused such a furore here that maybe sales will pick up, but there’s no evidence of it yet.”

To date, just 12 international broadcasters have acquired the drama. 

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