‘Intelligence’ Producer Expectation Turns First Profit Despite Covid

EXCLUSIVE: Expectation, the British production company behind series such as David Schwimmer comedy Intelligence and Amazon’s Clarkson’s Farm, has posted its first profit since launching in 2017.

This comes despite the Covid-19 pandemic “severely disrupting” a number of its productions.

The company, which was set up by former Endemol chief Tim Hincks and ex-ITV content chief Peter Fincham, posted a profit of £438,145 (US$606,124) in the twelve months to 31 March 2021, a significant improvement on the £2.9M loss that it incurred in the previous year.

This profit was posted from revenues of £34.8M, a 23% increase from the prior year’s figure of £28.3M.

The directors of the company, in its financial statements to Companies House, said that they were “delighted” with the results, during what it called a “difficult” year.

“The group’s upward trajectory continues, having reached profit in its fourth year of trading as originally planned; when we signed the 2020 accounts last year, we anticipated becoming profitable in 2022 due to disruption from the pandemic, so to do so a year earlier is a great result,” they noted.

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Expectation produced and delivered 24 productions, including pilots during the financial year, across all five genres that it operates in: entertainment, comedy entertainment, scripted drama, scripted comedy and factual and factual drama.

Big recent wins for the producer include Clarkson’s Farm, which is thought to be one of Amazon’s biggest international originals and has been renewed for a second season, BBC comedy Alma’s Not Normal, its first Netflix commission in The Nailbomber, a feature-length doc about the bombings that happened in London 20 years ago, and The Chelsea Detective, a crime series for AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and Germany’s ZDF, written by Fincham himself.

The BBC Studios-backed business noted that it had an “excellent spread” of customers including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Netflix, Amazon, and UKTV and said that this would increase further with commissions from the likes of Acorn and YouTube.

Despite turning a profit, the company did note that the Covid-19 caused major challenges and meant that it wasn’t able to hit its planned revenue target of £60M. It added that many shows had their delivery dates delayed by between three months and a year.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the whole television industry. Lockdowns, social distancing measures and an initial period without insurance cover available for Covid-19 meant for several months in the year – April to August 2020 – the ability to produce television was severley disrupted, with active productions being paused and new productions being delayed or cancelled completely,” it added.

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