Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock helps BBC Worldwide return £173.8m to BBC

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, generated sales of £1.04bn in the year to 31 March, propelled by the international licensing of top shows Sherlock, Top of the Lake and Doctor Who.

Sherlock: helps BBC generate sales of £1.04bn in the year to 31 March
Sherlock: helps BBC generate sales of £1.04bn in the year to 31 March

Benedict Cumberbatch’s version of detective Sherlock Holmes has proved to be a global smash for the BBC, licensed to 224 territories in the year.

Tales of the shrewd London detective proved to be a stand-out hit in Asia, with the third series attracting more than 67 million hits on China’s digital platform YouKu.

Also during the year, Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in November set a new Guinness World Record when it was simucast in 98 countries and 15 languages.

The BBC's drama Top of the Lake, filmed and set in New Zealand, was also singled out for recognition after success in the UK, Australia/NZ and the United States.

The annual revenue represents a fall of 7% for BBC Worldwide, partly attributed to the loss of income after the sale of Lonely Planet and a renegotiation of a revenue-share agreement relating to BBC.com.

BBC Worldwide’s pre-tax profit dropped 21.5% to £126.5m over the period. Once the sale of Lonely Planet is taken into account BBC Worldwide’s headline profit was largely flat, up from £156.3m to £157.4m.

The strength of the sterling in the year had a negative impact of £17.1m.

Despite the annual falls, BBC Worldwide reported it has returned £173.8m to the licence fee run BBC, an increase of 11.4% year on year.

BBC Worldwide chief executive, Tim Davie, received total remuneration of £670,000, including a base salary of £400,000 and a bonus of £231,000.

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