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The broadcast television industry is constantly changing and adapting, but it is still one of the most popular forms of information and entertainment, despite the rapid growth of the Internet. The UK television industry has around 1,300 businesses made up of broadcasters, cable and satellite and around 850 independent production companies. The industry is dominated by the major broadcasters: BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky and Virgin Media.
There is an enormous variety of programming involved in television, from documentaries to soap operas, drama series to game-shows. All of these types of programmes can be produced by any one of the main broadcasters.
Smaller independent production companies may focus on one main genre, but will still look for people with a variety of skills and talent as they can end up producing some of the biggest mainstream programmes.
Working in television can be extremely demanding, but it can offer great variety in daily tasks. It can also be a fast-paced, exciting and rewarding career.
There are approximately 50,000 people employed in the UK television industry, over a quarter of which work on a freelance basis. It is a tough industry to break into, despite there being relatively informal entry into production. Whilst you can get into the business without official qualifications, about two thirds of the television workforce have degrees.
Pay can start off very low with much of the workforce admitting to working for free at some point at the beginning of their career, but with the right commitment and talent, a career in television can be stimulating and exciting.