Record growth for Bristol production company Plimsoll Productions

A scene from A Year on Planet Earth
A scene from A Year on Planet Earth

Independent television production company Plimsoll Productions has reported a 65 percent growth in sales in its latest financial year, while carefully navigating the challenges of the pandemic.

Bristol-based Plimsoll’s BAFTA, EMMY and Academy award winning team specialises in wildlife, documentary and factual entertainment shows, and is the biggest independent producer of natural history programmes in the world.

Since it was established in 2013, it has produced more than 70 series for broadcasters including Netflix, Disney, Apple and Natural Geographic, and opened offices in Bristol, LA and Cardiff.

In August 2019, Plimsoll was backed by mid-market private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital Limited. With LDC’s support, CEO Grant Mansfield and his team have invested in the business’ natural history, documentary and factual drama divisions and pursued further growth, both organically and through acquisition, including expanding in the USA.

For the financial year ending August 2021, the leading independent television production company generated sales of £50 million, an increase of 65 percent from the previous year.

During this period, the business released a number of highly rated programmes, recruited new senior hires and attracted its highest audiences to date.

Standout productions included Tiny World, a nature documentary programme narrated by Paul Rudd that is exclusively on Apple TV+ which provides a look through the eyes of the lives of the world’s tiniest creatures, and Women of 9/11, a production shown on ABC that shines a light on the remarkable stories of women who put their lives on the line during the tragedy.

Other achievements during the year included the acquisition of specialist distribution and rights management company, Magnify Media, which now distributes to 75 countries worldwide through its network. Plimsoll has also embarked on a co-production series with ITV which involving forming international partnerships including with organisations such as Tencent of China.

Furthermore, Plimsoll recruited former US talent agent and unscripted TV dealmaker Mark Itkin to its board, along with Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees. Mark is advising on strategy across the group while Marvin is focused on talent, diversity and sustainability.

Over the next 12 months, the business is on track to further expand its premium factual offering and develop its portfolio of drama programmes. Plimsoll’s upcoming productions include ‘On the Edge’ – a National Geographic docuseries featuring Free Solo’s Alex Honnold – and chef Marcus Wareing’s ‘Tales from a Kitchen Garden’.

Grant Mansfield, CEO and founder of Plimsoll Productions, said: “We’re immensely proud of our multi-award-winning creative teams and their achievements over the last few years. It’s testament to their skills and long-term commitment that our projects continue to have a real impact, helping to raise awareness of important global issues and drive forward positive societal change.

Dewi Hughes, Head of LDC in the South West and Wales, added: “The impact of the pandemic created many unique challenges for the TV and entertainment sector, but Plimsoll continued to thrive under Grant and the team’s leadership, going on to deliver a record year for growth.

“With its strong pipeline of upcoming projects, growing international audiences and blue-chip partnerships, Plimsoll is on track to continue to scale in the years ahead.”