International Programme Trends

October 15, 2018

With more than 550 TV channels and SVOD platforms in the 45+ countries covered by the NoTa service – which tracks newly launched fiction, factual and entertainment series – we observed that the 2017-2018 season was a productive one.

Israel, for instance, boosted the market with its significantly increased volume of new entertainment shows. Netflix also contributed to the global output, offering an expanded original catalogue. Conversely, there were fewer recurrent programmes tested in territories such as in Latin America, especially in Venezuela due to its political crisis. Factual and fiction remained the main genres among newly launched series, each representing about 40% of the renewals. 54% of new series were original concepts, which means that 46% of the launches were imported concept programmes. Among those, adapted formats reached 6% this season, +1 point versus 2016-2017.

International flows driven by two major countries and newcomers

Acquisitions are a large part of the new programmes, and the US and the UK have massively dominated the international market for many years. In 20172018, 2 out of 3 new imports launched in the NoTa scope came from the US and/or the UK. These two markets have the know-how to create impactful, international hits. In 2017, among the 8 scripted series which traveled the most, 5 were American and 2 British. Among them are 2016 dramas This Is Us and Victoria, as well as 24: Legacy, a 2017 reboot of the well-known franchise 24. The US and the UK concepts also are well-adapted. In looking at the most adapted game shows launched after 2014, we can see that the quiz show The Wall set a very particular trend. Barely 70 days after the US launch, an adaptation of the programme was broadcast in France on the leading channel TF1. In less than a year, more than 10 adaptations have been launched in the countries covered by the NoTa service

Despite the dominating force of these two exporters, some other countries have starting to gain ground with a boosted output. Germany, ranking 3rd among the top exporters in 2017, was also able to create international hits. The Same Sky (Der Gleiche Himmel) a mini-series about spies in East and West Germany, traveled to many European territories like Sweden, Italy and Czech Republic but also in English-speaking countries via Netflix. The Same Sky is one of the period dramas that resonates well with international audiences. At the same time, Turkey found new opportunities to break into the Latin American market. With 27 new Turkish scripted series launched in LATAM in 2017, the number of Turkish imports was almost equal to that of the US. For Asian channels, external markets are new opportunities to expand their business. They want to show that they can offer universal stories without a cultural rift. Some shows have already become hits, proving the possibility for success. The South Korean reality show Grandpas Over Flower and the drama Good Doctor are being adapted around the world. Also, the Japanese drama Mother has already been adapted in Turkey and more recently in South Korea.

New highlighted formats about relationships

In terms of worldwide trends, we can see a strong emphasis on relationships. Dating shows are still not out of date! What’s new on the scene, however, is the mix between dating codes and talent quest variety shows, adopting a one-glove-fits-all approach. The CJ E&M Corporation format Love at First Song, adapted in Vietnam, is a hybrid musical dating show where contestants looking for love get matched up by their musical taste. The Australian reality Date Night, a Gogglebox-like dating show, follows a bunch of singles from the comfort of their living rooms, using only a dating app and tips from trusty sidekicks. Today, the entire relationship cycle is center stage, from dating to breaking up, providing a never-ending source of material. In the Facebook reality show, Make up or Break up, a couple in a time of crisis reaches out to the Facebook community to decide if they should stay together or call it quits. Talpa Global’s format Friendly Divorce, expected on SBS6, asks advice from friends and family for couples dealing with a divorce. Mentorships are also a way to explore relationships. Indeed, we can see an increasing number of competitions and talent quests involving both professionals and amateurs. In the Chinese talent quest show Unlimited Song Season (Wu Xian Ge Yao Ji 无限歌谣季), amateur musicians come up with their own lyrics and music. They submit the material to their professional partner, and the best duo wins. Similarly, in Wild, La Course De Survie, outdoor novices are paired up with experienced adventurers. In this French survivor show, the duo has to reach a rally point within 3 days and 2 nights, no matter how reluctant the amateurs may be.

New scripted series on the air

As the subjects and treatments of formats are reinvented, scripted series are also transforming US networks are offering more popular short series based on the cable model. Between January and April 2018, 4 out of the 8 first primetime audience boosters on US networks were non-procedurals. And it’s only on the rise, as a large majority of the programmes announced to be broadcast within the 2 next years have less than 13 episodes. Of course, some seasons will be extended up to 22 or 24 episodes, but they’ll come out less dominant. There is another shift happening in Europe. We all know that Nordic Noir has been making headlines over the past few years, but a new area is starting, with drama mixing politics and social issues. The Finnish show Bullets, a mash-up of different genres, won the first-ever Mip Drama Buyers’ Coup de Coeur this year. This drama is about broken families, politics, crime and spying. This time from Norway and part of CanneSeries Festival 2018 selection, the period drama State of Happiness tells the story of the personal, political and social changes that took place in the city of Stavanger, where US and Scandinavian cultures converged around an oil field. In a highly crowded market, various styles of content are brought to the table to grab the attention of international audiences, making it harder than ever to stand out as an international hit.


Source: Médiamétrie / Eurodata TV Worldwide / NoTa International TV Trends 2017-2018 / Relevant Partners.

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