Love Productions, the Comcast-back production company behind “The Great British Bake Off” (or “The Great British Baking Show,” as it’s known in the U.S.), have posted a pandemic turnover of £85 million ($114 million) for the period between July 2019 and December 2020.
The turnover dwarfs that of the previous year, which amounted to £61.5 million. This is partly because it covers an 18 month period rather than the 12 month period previously accounted for (which ran to June 2019).
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Of the latest figures, Love reports pre-tax profits of £22.6 million, which were only £2 million higher than profits during the previous (12 month) accounting period.
“On a pro-rata 12 months basis turnover decreased by 6.9% and gross by 5.2%,” the financial statement explains.
This was, according to the financial report, due to the impact of the pandemic on U.S. productions, with Love unable to film four separate series as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, which impacted on-set safety and travel.
Although in the U.K. production was able to continue relatively quickly, with only one series suspended, the report sets out that this required “significant investment into extensive protocols, post-production technology and the creation of ‘filming bubbles’ [which] allowed filming to continue.”
“The Company closed its offices March 2020 and paused all scheduled production and filming for 3 months,” the report reads. “The company acted quickly and decisively by protecting and supporting their staff and investing into equipment and technology to allow remote editing. This allowed two of its series in post production at the time to continue production, and meet their Spring transmission without delay.”
“All production filming was paused for months whilst the company, in close consultation with its H&S [health and safety] and legal consultants, devised new ways of working by implementing extensive filming protocols to allow safe filming of ‘The Great British Bake Off.’ The company invested into the creation of a safe biosphere and in July 2020 it was the first production of scale to safely film following the Covid 19 U.K. outbreak 2020.”
“As it became clear that Covid restrictions would remain in place locally and globally for the rest of the year, the company adapted its extensive protocols and rescheduled; finding news way of filming most of its slate of programmes in the U.K. and only standing down one of its series in production,” the report continues. “Two U.S. series scheduled to film outside of the U.S. could not progress due to restrictions and it was no longer possible to safely film other series in discussion at the time.”
The financial report also revealed that development of new shows had slowed down, stating: “As a result of the uncertainty, discussions around new development paused and no new business of scale has been commissioned, though discussions are ongoing as we seek to respond creatively to the needs of the audiences following the global covid experience [sic].”
According to the report, Love Productions also participated in the U.K. government’s furlough scheme, in which the government would cover 80% of the salaries of anyone unable to work from home during the pandemic.
During the accounting period, Sky Group, which is owned by Comcast, took full control of Love Productions. The broadcaster had previously owned a 70.41% stake in the production company, which also makes shows such as “The Great British Sewing Bee” and “The Great Pottery Throwdown,” as well as other factual shows including “Who Are You Calling Fat?” and “Breastfeeding Uncovered: Dispatches.”
In November, Channel 4 revealed it had extended its deal with Love Productions to ensure the show remained on air for at least another three years. The show continues to be a ratings success for the broadcaster, with the season finale boasting 6.9 million viewers.
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