Report: Entertainment genre still dominates primetime TV

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Entertainment shows still capture big audiences regardless of the country, according to the latest edition of the Entertainment TV Report from Eurodata TV Worldwide which examined these programmes in 11 countries. On average, TV channels devoted 1/3 of their prime time schedules to entertainment formats in 2018.

“During primetime, entertainment shows helped boost audience figures for ¾ of the major channels studied, and increased the market share by 24 per cent on average compared with the slot average. These results prove that entertainment is still a vital genre for this time slot”, noted Candice Alessandra, International Research Manager at EurodataTV Worldwide.

Japan and US frontrunners for primetime entertainment

All the countries in the study devote a significant part of their primetime schedules to entertainment: Japan and the US were the front runners, with 58 per cent and 53 per cent respectively of total primetime on main channels dedicated to entertainment programming. France and Germany brought up the rear with 22 per cent and 17 per cent.

In Japan, private channels are more likely to broadcast primetime entertainment (65 per cent). In the UK, the main public channels make a massive contribution to the entertainment schedules.  The UK, the US, the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium are the countries with the highest number of successful entertainment exports. Programmes include: Got Talent (US), Strictly Come Dancing (UK), The Farmer Wants a Wife (UK), and Survivor (Sweden), which were all ranked among the top shows in at least 5 of the 11 countries studied.

In terms of entertainment genres, factual entertainment is the most widely broadcast, just ahead of reality competitions and variety shows; game shows follow a little further. On the other hand, regarding consumption, reality competitions come first, quite far ahead of factual entertainment and variety shows.

31 new entertainment shows ranked in the Top 15 charts 

2018 was an excellent year for entertainment formats, with double the number of launches seen in 2017 (17 additional launches).  The majority of these newcomers were original programmes (19 out of 31), and the UK performed particularly well, with four original new programmes ranked in its Top 15 primetime entertainment ratings: The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, The Generation Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip. However, these are mainly reboots or spin-offs.

Entertainment adaptations made headway in 2018, accounting for 1/3 of new launches. They included titles such as Ninja Warrior, adapted for the first time in Israel and Grandpas Over Flowers, a South Korean format that was successfully adapted in the Netherlands.  In terms of genre, reality competitions prevail, with 14 new launches. Within this category, talent shows dominated (8 out of these 14 launches), including: The Voice, The Great Bake Off, Got Talent and Sewing Bee.

Some entertainment formats stood out, including Showdown (Israel), Ich WeiB Alles (Germany) and L’Aventure Robinson (France), which were all genuinely new programming as none of them were based on a pre-existing concept.  There were also some enduring “old” favourites: The Generation Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Brain returned to screens in the UK and Italy after more than 5 years off the air in some cases.

Lastly, spin-offs remained a safe bet for channels. For example, in the US, Love & Hip Hop: Miami was the fourth installment in that franchise and went straight to the top of the national charts. In the Netherlands, The Voice Senior enjoyed similar success, scoring 6th place in 2018. Another way to relaunch a show is to create a VIP version. This was clearly understood in Italy and the US where VIP versions of Temptation Island and Big Brother were launched. Both programmes entered the Top 15 charts in their respective countries.

Watching entertainment online now an established trend

How did viewers watch entertainment formats in 2018? Although the TV set remained the screen of choice, the habit of watching online has also gradually set in.  Online, the computer is still the favoured screen for watching these shows: French audiences spent 41 per cent of total online screen viewing time for primetime entertainment watching on a computer, for the Dutch audience it was 47 per cent and for the British audience: 38 per cent. However, the importance of “small screens” such as tablets and smartphones should not be underestimated.

In France, the proportion of viewers watching online is higher for entertainment than for other types of programmes. This trend is supported by a few flagship programmes such as Les Marseillais Australia, Les Marseillais vs. Le Reste du Monde and Les Princes Et les Princesses De L’Amour.  In the United Kingdom, online viewing is less related to the types of programmes than to their performance on TV sets: success on TV often means a  good performance online. This is the case of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, which was broadcast in primetime and was the most successful entertainment format online in 2018.


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