British series increasingly broadcast abroad

With the ever growing success of series, Eurodata TV Worldwide’s 2017 Scripted Series report observes a rise in originals. Local productions remain strong but co-productions are gaining pace. American series are challenged by European programmes, especially British. The series genre boosts the prime time audience in many countries, substantially in some such as in Denmark, the US or Turkey, for example.

“The success of series has led to increasingly strong competition between content creators. TV viewers demand new programmes, new content and originality.  There has never been so many new creations among the highest international audiences as in 2017”, points out Abed Laraqui, Research and Clientele Manager with Eurodata TV Worldwide.

The series market has significantly changed over the past 3 years as appears in the top series in each of the 13 territories studied in the report.

In 2017, there are even more new programmes: 3 series out of 10 are original series; 70 per cent of series are broadcast on the leading channels, crime series have gradually been overtaken by historical series; finally, series are made up of episodes that are longer but fewer in number.

Another insight from the study is that series are enjoying a growing success on computers, tablets and smartphones. They are watched more online – and, in particular via replay – than other programme genres: on average 25 per cent more in France and 50 per cent more in the Netherlands. For example, the Dutch series Flikken Maastricht, or even Clem in France, significantly increased its audience thanks to Internet screens.

Although they continue to travel around the world, this year again, national productions win general approval in each territory. They are both the most broadcast and the most watched: in 2017, more than half of the series proposed during prime time on the main channels studied in the report were local series. Even, more than 9 times out of 10 the top series in each of the countries studied is a local series. They are particularly popular in Denmark, Italy and Israel.

However, although still the majority, these local creations decreased slightly last year both in terms of the hourly programme volume broadcast and their audience.

This slight decrease was in favour of series co-productions between several countries which, year on year, are gaining ground: indeed, 10 per cent of the top series in 2017 were co-productions, namely 4 points more than a year earlier. These series are particularly popular when the producing countries share the same language or even the same culture, allowing them to be broadcast to a larger audience. For example, this is the case of  Als de Dijken Breken, a Belgian and Dutch co-production broadcast on NPO1 and ranked 2nd in the Netherlands in 2017. Sometimes, associations between the most unlikely countries, for example the historical Russian-Portuguese series Mata Hari broadcast on Pierviy Kanal, create a surprise and encounter great success.

Besides local creations and co-productions, foreign series still represent a major share of the series broadcast and watched around the world. However, the geographic origin of these imports is changing: American series, which are largely present in programme schedules regardless of country, are finding themselves increasingly challenged by European and, in particular, British productions. The share of the latter in the volume of imported series broadcast during prime time increased by 3 points in 1 year, to reach 11 per cent. They enjoyed a great success in 2017, especially in Scandinavia. This was the case, for example, for The Halcyon, a new British programme which entered directly in 7th position in the top 15 series in Sweden.

Despite this trend, American series continue to dominate and are particularly popular in Central European countries. Some bestsellers, such as NCIS or even Grey’s Anatomy, still hold top position in many countries.

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