U.K. leads format business

Netherlands, U.S. take 21% each

LONDON — Blighty continues to dominate the global market in TV formats — but mainland Europe and the U.S. are catching up.

The U.K.’s share of the market was 33% for the first nine months of 2007, according to research by FremantleMedia, whose international bestsellers include the “Idols” franchise, “The Price Is Right” and “X-Factor.”

The U.S. and the Netherlands were the next biggest players in the format sales biz — each responsible for a 21% share of the market.

This was down to shows like Fox’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and Endemol’s “Deal or No Deal.”

Blighty’s share of this highly lucrative business, reckoned to be worth $4 billion in Europe alone last year, has dropped in recent years.

In 2006, it stood at 43%, compared with 50% two years ago.

Renewed demand for game shows is helping drive the business in the U.S. and the Netherlands as the past year has seen a 30% increase in the number of new gameshow titles at the main TV markets, said Fremantle, owned by pan-European media giant RTL.

This was in sharp contrast to scripted drama formats, where demand fell by almost 20%.

The most successful new format of the year was Fox’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?,” which airs in the U.K. as “Are You Smarter Than a 10 Year Old” on Sky One.

The show launched in 22 territories in a mere eight months — one of the fastest ever international roll outs and further evidence of the speed at which hit shows now transfer across global markets.

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