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Authenticity key to boosting entertainment genres

The 2016 edition of the Entertainment TV Report , covering 11 territories and 90 channels, looks back over the success stories in 2015 from emblematic entertainment genre.

Talent searches and competitions of every kind remained safe “bets” and  pursue their expansion into new territories. Scripted programmes are still riding the crest of the wave and new formats in contrast are focusing on authenticity, showcasing human beings, their relationships and everyday life through experimental programmes.

Entertainment represents almost ¼ of prime time television on traditional

The 90 channels studied in the report broadcast, totalling 33,500 hours of prime time entertainment. Furthermore, 69 per cent of traditional generalist channels have boosted their prime time audiences thanks to this genre, which attracts a predominantly female audience. Talent search programmes remain at the top of prime time entertainment with Strictly Come Dancing (distributed by BBC Worldwide) appearing in the top 15 entertainment series in 6 out of the 11 countries covered.

Classic formats are still popular

Entertainment is now a proven success and existing formats continue to be launched in new countries. This is particularly true for the British format Kitchen Nightmares (distributed by All3Media International), which was launched on Israel’s Channel 2 in 2015. It went straight to 8th place in the prime time entertainment series rankings, with a 35 per cent audience share in individuals aged 4+. The 1997 Japanese format Ninja Warrior (distributed by Bellon Entertainment / Eccholine) is still crossing borders today. It is one of ITV’s most successful debuts in the UK and will shortly be broadcast on TF1 in France.

Some formats are re-appearing on new channels after an absence of several years and are experiencing renewed success. In Italy, L’Isola dei Famosi (distributed by Castaway Television), the celebrity version of Expediton Robinson initially broadcast on Rai 2 before being dropped in 2012 has now been successfully relaunched on Canale 5. This adventure show is the country’s 3rd most popular entertainment series, attracting an average of 5.3 million prime time viewers in 2015.

If they prove popular, established programme segments may become full-scale formats. In 2015, Lip Sync Battle (distributed by Viacom International), from the eponymous segment on The Tonight Show, was broadcast on Spike TV in the US. Lip Sync Battle immediately became the channel’s top entertainment programme, trebling the channel’s timeslot audience share in individuals aged 2+. The format has travelled to many countries, notably in 2016 to Channel 5 in the UK where, during its first month of broadcast, the channel’s timeslot average audience share of viewers aged 16-34 increased fourfold.

Authenticity: a challenge for the new formats

In the rankings, 13 per cent of series were new or relaunched. On secondary channels, new programs bet on authenticity. Many of these belonged to the experimental genre.

This was particularly true for Real Men (distributed by Red Arrow International), which follows men throughout their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. This Danish format broadcast on DR1 established itself as the country’s third most popular entertainment series. It has already been adapted in the Netherlands and Sweden and Finland will follow soon.

Ordinary people experience living in more, or less, fictional alternate worlds — as seen in two British programmes: 10,000 B.C. (distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment) on Channel 5, and I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse (distributed by Shine International) on BBC Three. In some shows, participants must continue with real life, but live it in a different way, such as the Australian format Go Back to Where you Came From (distributed by Cordell Jigsaw), which was immediately ranked the second most popular entertainment series on Dutch channel NPO2. The aim of these programmes is to make the viewer reflect on topical and social issues.

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