Report: Entertainment formats still dominate prime time

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In 2019, the entertainment genre still featured prominently on television, according to the most recent edition of the Entertainment TV Report conducted by Glance which studied this category across 11 countries. Looking at prime-time in particular, across the 91 channels in the study, on average close to 4 programmes out of 10 were entertainment formats and these shows provided a boost to the audience ratings for two thirds of these channels. Although locally produced original programmes accounted for 65 per cent of entertainment shows aired during prime-time, adaptations were expanding too.

“Entertainment adaptations are increasingly being broadcast by channels: 32 per cent of entertainment during prime-time, +2 percentage points on 2018. They are also drawing in a larger audience: 36 per cent, +1 percentage point on 2018. In some countries such as France, Spain, Sweden and Israel, the national charts featured more adaptations than original content shows,” noted Candice Alessandra, International Research Manager at Glance. She continued: “Moreover in 2019, one out of three entertainment shows featured in the charts of the nations studied were franchises of global hits.”

TV game shows progress in prime-time

Game shows accounted for 15 per cent of entertainment programming viewed on TV during prime-time, behind factual entertainment* (24 per cent), variety shows (24 per cent) and competitions (37 per cent). However, when considering these four categories, the biggest year-on-year increase was for the game show format.

Even more so in the United States where TV game shows advanced by +4 percentage points in a year. They also grew in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy and Israel: +3 percentage points compared to 2018.

In a sign of this success, 28 games shows entered the national audience charts for 2019, adding five to the total from the previous year.

Two new shows launched in 2018 illustrate this trend perfectly: Germany’s trampoline obstacle course Big Bounce Battle and in the US, Game of Games hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. These shows have recently been adapted in France and Spain respectively where they have become big hits with audiences.

Franchises and spin-offs still popular

To ensure that they will travel well globally, entertainment formats rely on safe bets. Although the majority of global hits are competitions, for example: The VoiceStrictly Come DancingGot Talent and Survivor, other formats playing a strong hand include Married at First Sight in the factual entertainment category as well as the game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?.

In pursuit of continued exports and to attract wider audiences, some franchises have expanded into spin-offs**, for instance The Voice has both Junior and Senior versions and Got Talent has created The Champions. However, other entertainment formats have eschewed this method in their pursuit of longevity: Strictly Come Dancing in its original format still ranked among the top programmes in 7 out of the 11 countries studied – a record.

Among the 15 franchises whose shows have aired in at least two foreign countries, 10 launched over 10 years ago, proving how stable these programmes are, drawing in as many viewers season upon season. Big Brother just celebrated 20 years whilst Got Talent, which launched in 2006, is preparing to blow out 14 candles.

Blazing its own trail for audience ratings amongst the established entertainment shows, successful newcomer The Masked Singer stood out again in 2019. Originating in South Korea in 2015, this show has now been adapted and broadcast in over 50 countries: already in its third season in the United States, season two is now on the air in Germany.


A hit with audiences in France (5.7 million viewers), the United States (11.5 million for season 1) and the Netherlands (1.9 million), The Masked Singer was ranked first, third and eighth in their respective national prime-time charts. In the majority of countries in the study, the first and/or last episode of The Masked Singer garnered between two and four times the usual audience share for its channel.

Viewing entertainment shows online: an increasingly popular trend

Whether in France or the United Kingdom, online viewing of prime-time entertainment programmes increased compared to 2018. In France in particular, more than 3 per cent of TV entertainment fans watched their programme online – three times the figure for other genres.

Among the devices used, smartphones were the favourite: 41 per cent of French people watched this genre on their smartphone (+3 percentage points on 2018), just ahead of computer viewing (40 per cent). The main driver of this growth is the channel W9 since over half of its online audience (55 per cent) watches on a smartphone.

Some other channels are increasingly viewed on a tablet, for instance: around 30 per cent of France 3 online content is viewed on a tablet.

In the United Kingdom, home computers are top of the list: 42 per cent, followed by smartphones (29 per cent) and tablets (28 per cent).

In France, over half of the entertainment programming viewed online is driven by just four shows, all of them broadcast on W9: Les Marseillais Asian DreamLes Marseillais VS le reste du mondeLes princes et princesses de l’amour and Moundir et les apprentis aventuriers. This phenomenon can be partially explained by the frequency of these programmes which are broadcast every weekday evening throughout the year.

Competitions which are widely viewed on TV (43 per cent of the entertainment genre), are watched even more widely online (65 per cent). The same goes for factual entertainment. However, fans of games shows and variety shows prefer to watch on a TV set.

This contrasts with the United Kingdom where the shows that attract the biggest audience on TV are generally the same ones that draw the largest number of online viewers. One notable exception: Love Island which topped the rankings of British programmes viewed on the internet, drawing an audience of 1.3 million just online… far ahead of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.

 


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