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Series Mania 2021 – Series Mania Forum

Industry Report: Series

The CNC examines trends in scripted series around the world at the Series Mania Forum

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The industry is placed under the microscope to reveal the volume of programmes recently commissioned, rankings of the most active countries and broadcasters, favoured genres and viewer preferences

The CNC examines trends in scripted series around the world at the Series Mania Forum

Giants from the world of SVOD might be highly reluctant to communicate the scale of their audiences (happily divulging how many of their subscribers watched two minutes of a series, for example, yet tight lipped over the other figure they use internally – how many of their viewers watched 70% of a given title – which is clearly very different from time spent non-committally channel-hopping), but, either way, certain upstream indicators make it far easier to analyse trends. Indeed, the CNC’s study on the most recent trends in the global production of scripted series, presented during the Series Mania Forum in Lille, throws valuable light on the audiovisual production commissioning strategies adopted by linear and non-linear broadcasters from 80 countries between August 2020 and July 2021 (Ampère Analysis – scripted programmes, not including animation).

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The first thing we learn is that commissions are clearly on the increase: China (653 programmes commissioned over the past 12 months) and the USA (611) lead the way by far, ahead of Japan (264), India (230), Russia (182) and South Korea (148). Next come the Europeans led by the UK (148), Germany (121) and France (101), without forgetting Spain (74) and Italy (50).

This growth is driven by global platforms and studios, with increasing numbers of commissions directed towards the online services offered by studios or audiovisual groups (Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, etc.). Standing tall on this particular podium are Disney (206 commissioned programmes), Netflix (188) and Viacom CBS (121), followed by WarnerMedia (113), Comcast (108), Amazon (99), and the leading European group the BBC (85). Meanwhile, all the other European broadcasters featuring in this ranking are public: ZDF (54), ARD (48) and France Télévisions (appearing between the 36th and 15th positions).

In terms of genres, over half of the programmes commissioned over the past 12 months were either dramas (1,123 – the favoured form, accounting for 42% of linear channels’ fictional content) or crime/thriller works (698). Genres such as science-fiction & fantasy (474) and comedy (482) are better represented by online services. Also well worth a mention are the young audience and family (108), action and adventure (37) and horror (25) genres.

In greater depth, France is one of the highest commissioning countries of crime/thriller programmes, while comedy accounts for almost 30% of programmes commissioned in Germany and in the UK. Science-fiction & fantasy, meanwhile, seems to be an America and South Korean favourite (accounting for 18% of orders for the former).

In terms of viewer preferences (explored by way of online surveys conducted by Ampère Analysis in 25 markets), 33% of respondents claimed they watched TV series produced within their own countries very often, while 30% plumped for American series. 17% watch international series (which aren’t local, American or British) on a very regular basis, but this figure rises to 22% for 18-24-year-olds. Local series are especially popular in China, Turkey and India.

The UK is the leading European country when it comes to a liking for local productions, since 37% of respondents watch them very often, compared to 29.7% in Spain, 27% in Italy, 23.7% in France, 22.9% in Germany and 20.4 % in Sweden.

Last but not least, the CNC estimates that foreign SVOD platforms (Netflix, Prime Video, etc.) invested €97m in new French series in 2021.

The study can be viewed in its entirety here, on the CNC’s website.

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(Translated from French)

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