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Modelling the Evolution of the TV Drama Production Sector in the UK

CREATe Working paper 2018/01

Richard Paterson


This exploratory paper considers the evolution of drama production companies in the UK against the backdrop of regulatory interventions (Paterson, 2017a). In so doing, it poses the question of what was it that made a successful drama production company as the context of tv production changed. A set of firm types of current drama production companies is established, the density of companies occupying this niche mapped, and the growing heterogeneity of firm types over time identified. Firms within these types are examined applying the fitness landscape methodology, developed for the analysis of organisations from complexity theory (Kauffman, 1993). This approach offers a dynamic conception of an industrial sector in continuous change responding to the technological, market and the endogenous factors with which firms engage. The adaptive walks of a set of companies within each firm type are plotted by examining a company’s reputation, their access to talent and their ability to secure commissions and raise finance for development and production.  What becomes possible for a company at particular junctures – the adjacent possible – is variable, but as will be demonstrated routes to growth have tended to become normative once any innovation in organizational form is successful. The implications of this approach are broached in relation to further possible policy interventions and broader technological changes.

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