European broadcasters import $6bn of drama

The value of imported drama series for 120 European broadcasters across 21 territories was $5.92 billion in 2010, according to a report by Madigan Cluff. The Imported Drama Series in Europe report states that this figure was similar to 2009, but was well down on the $6.623 billion recorded in 2008.

Michael Cluff, co-report author and director at Madigan Cluff, said: “The advertising recession has had a downward knock-on effect on the value of imported drama series for broadcasters since 2009. Furthermore, governments are scrutinising public broadcasters more closely than ever, which has put pressure on household license fee income and expenditure.”

Simon Murray, co-report author and Managing Director at Digital TV Research, added: “Values for leaders Germany, Italy and France were all similar in 2010 at around $1 billion each. However, the UK and Spain recorded much lower figures, revealing less reliance on imported drama, especially during primetime on the main channels. The UK is a sizeable producer and exporter of drama series in its own right.”

Italian, French and German channels generated the highest value from imported drama series in 2010. France’s TF1 was by far the greatest beneficiary, generating $509 million from 2,178 hours of imported drama series screened. At the other end of the scale, major broadcasters such as the UK’s ITV1 and Spain’s Antena 3 utilised little from imported drama series.

The average hourly value of imported drama series reached $36,188 in 2010. This was similar to 2009, but 2009 recorded a notable fall from 2008 due mainly to the advertising recession. In fact, 2008 was a lot lower than 2007.

Warner Bros was the largest distributor of primetime imported drama series by hours scheduled during 2010, providing 17 per cent of the total. CBS took second place with 16 per cent, with Disney third on 14 per cent.

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