With the variety of options to watch programmes, the key asset relies on the intrinsic quality of the show, and on the ability to optimise the distribution on relevant platforms. The Eurodata TV 2018 review of international TV content trends, focuses on successful programmes and broadcasting strategies.
Frédéric Vaulpré, Vice-President of Eurodata TV Worldwide, said: “Networks and pure players develop innovative broadcasting strategies to adapt to new ways of viewing. The contents are thus available on 4 screens and in non-linear, sometimes even before the live broadcast, as is the case of pre-broadcasts.”
Avril Blondelot, Head of Content Insight at Eurodata TV Worldwide, added: “In 2018, more than 10,000 new programmes have been detected on the scope covered by our monitoring tool NoTa. In terms of trends, the hybridisation of fiction genres is continuing; documentaries are well received by young people, particularly those speaking about them. Finally, entertainment programmes that showcase physical challenges, from dancing to boxing, or those that isolate individuals, are making headway.”
Dramas are the most popular genre: they account for 1/3 of fiction launches in 2018. For almost 1 out of 4 of these launches, the audience exceeds their channel slot’s average by at least 20 per cent. These include period dramas such as La Vita Promessa (Rai 1, Italy) which allowed its network to increase its market share on the slot by an average of 34 per cent. Moments that are part of the collective memory are presented with new perspectives this autumn, such as Francoism, a difficult period of Spanish history, which is portrayed humorously in Arde Madrid (Movistar+, Spain).
Documentaries are at the forefront of factual programmes: they attract more and more young adults year after year: in 2018, 21 per cent of them allowed their broadcaster to boost their audience on the slot by more than 20 per cent. Two topics work particularly well: documentaries questioning young people’s place in society, such as Vrij Land (NPO2, Netherlands), which allowed NPO2 to increase its young adult market share by 157 per cent, as well as documentaries dealing with social issues like 180 days (Télé-Québec, Canada) (a market share among 18 to 34 year olds multiplied by 2.5).
As regards entertainment, the emerging trend is the confinement of contestants in separate boxes. For example, The Circle (Channel 4, UK) puts isolated participants in individual flats, who can only communicate with each other through a dedicated social network. By using this format, Channel 4 has seen the market share for this time slot multiply by 2.8 among young adults. Other examples of this include Boxed (Keshet International) and Cooking Box, a programme currently being developed (CJ E&M, Banijay Rights).
Although live TV and TV sets are still the kings, TV content is significantly consumed à la carte in 2018. Therefore, the only reading of the audience figures or TV set viewing time is no longer enough to reflect the reality of a market that has been transformed by the changing practices of viewers, especially the youngest ones. To analyse the overall success of a programme, we need to look at the time-shifted audience and include the viewers who watch it on internet screens. TV Measurements are consequently getting richer worldwide, to varying degrees depending on the country.
The British TV series Killing Eve is a clear illustration of this: it was broadcast on the BBC and made fully available on the network’s iPlayer platform from the broadcast date of the first episode. In the UK, official TV ratings (TV audience at Day+7) show slow audience erosion episode by episode. But when added the pre-broadcast, Month+1 catch-up and online audience, the trend reverses: the programme gains viewers as the episodes progress. Therefore, 75 per cent of the series’ audience originate from these new non-linear uses. It should also be noted: whatever the use, TV sets still represent 89 per cent of views.
John Peek, Managing Director at Tape Consultancy said: “ the successes of Bodyguard and Killing Eve are other examples of the continued audience draw of drama series in the UK, and internationally, but also underlines that traditional broadcasters can still reach wide audiences with projects that strongly resonate with viewers: It’s about quality in drama, not volume. The challenge is to identify the projects that can deliver.”