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Scripted Series Report: Shifting series markets

24/11/2016

The Scripted Series Report 2016 goes back over the pronounced presence of series on our screens. To bring a capricious audience together, channels are betting on local fictions and adaptations. They are also increasingly cooperating with SVOD platforms to offer innovative content and to multiply opportunities for exposure. "True international hits are appearing less and less in the national top rankings", observes Avril Blondelot, International Research Manager at Eurodata TV Worldwide. "However, the international stage is playing a growing role in the development of local series. More and more new series have been adapted from foreign formats", adds Léa Besson, Media Consultant.

Scripted Series Report:  Shifting series markets
Series, a strong and challenged  genre

The 103 channels studied in the Scripted Series Report 2016 on average devoted 32% of their prime-time schedule to series. This strategy proves to be successful as the genre increases the majority of channels’ average market share. However the volume tends to decrease, as well as the average performance of the genre.

Local series count among the top hits in the genre. They represent no less than 84% of the prime-time top 15. Imports, and consequently international hits, appear less often in rankings of the top programmes. Despite this, broadcasting these imports remains a winning strategy for smaller channels. As an example, The X-Files (20th Century Fox Television Distribution) succeeded in placing among the top shows for M6 (France), Pro7 (Germany), TV3 (Sweden) and Channel 5 (the United Kingdom). American imports are challenged by series imported from countries geographically closer. The latter still occupy a minor place in schedules: 15% of the channels studied broadcast a significant amount of these imports in prime time. Most of all they constitute a major alternative for small markets and smaller channels.

Longer and wider exposure

In addition to longer availability thanks to catch-up opportunities, a series is now more available over various platforms in a single country. Traditional players and OTT platforms play with the various windows possible for their content. The multiplatform strategy is often a winning one. By way of example, Zwarte Tulp (NL Film), a new show in the 2015-16 season for RTL4, is a hit in the Netherlands among audiences aged 6 + (#10) and in the commercial target (best launch of the season). Five months before its launch on the RTL group’s first channel, the series had been previously streamed on Videoland, the group’s SVOD platform. The series Black Widows (DRG) was broadcast simultaneously on the TV3 channels of the MTG group in Sweden and Denmark, and also on the group’s SVOD platform. It is among the channel’s top 3 in both countries.

Examples of collaboration between TV and SVOD services are on the rise. Whether to reduce production costs, grow a viewer base or international visibility for their content, or fill their schedules and catalogues, players from the various groups are working together in production and distribution. One example, the series Narcos was recently broadcast on Univision in the US after its distribution on Netflix. Among future series, El Chapo will be coproduced by Netflix and Univision and Britannia (Sky Vision) will be a Sky/Amazon coproduction.

Short formats and adaptations: successful formulas?

Among new shows this season, short formats have proven popular. They are often conducive to quality series, as they encourage participation by well-known actors, screenwriters and directors. The Night Manager (WME/IMG, The Ink Factory), adapted from John Le Carré’s eponymous novel, immediately earned 4th among series in the United Kingdom and 5th in Denmark.

Otherwise, adaptations allow inspiring characters and stories to reverberate further. Many of the season’s hits are adaptations of series that exist in other countries. Among the European countries covered in the report, the proportion of local adaptations launched has doubled with respect to those in the 2014-15 season. Some channels particularly count on these to appeal to their viewers. This is the case with the Dutch channel SBS6, whose top 3 series are exclusively local adaptations of foreign formats. In third position is the new series De Jacht adapted from the Danish format: Those Who Kill (TrustNordisk). TF1 also broadcast adaptations that worked well. Such was the case with Secret d’Elise (Marchlands, 20th Century Fox Television Distribution), 2nd-ranked series over the period with 8,277,000 viewers on average for its 6 episodes.

With a slight dip in the scripted series’ volume aired and performance, but a real success of the local programs, adapted series represent a good compromise for production. They answer viewers’ expectations, while minimising risks taken on narrative, universe and plot.

Source: Médiamétrie - Eurodata TV Worldwide - "Scripted Series Report - Edition 2016" - Copyright Eurodata TV Worldwide / Audience measurement partners - All rights reserved

 

 

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