High-End Drama Powers France to All-Time TV Export Record

The U.S. builds as an export market, Western Europe – U.K., Germany – remains strong, bar Spain

BIARRITZ. France – The U.S. is getting the French TV touch. Pre-sales on four flagship French fiction series –“Transporter: the Series,” “Panthers,” “Versailles” and ”Taxi Brooklyn” – to the U.S. or beyond helped power up Gallic TV exports to an all-time record last year of €210.3 million ($231.3 million).

A muscular 17.1% up on 2013, figure reps the fifth year of consecutive growth for French TV programs and is near 30% up on international French TV levels in pre-crisis years of 2005-08, TV France International and French agency CNC announced Tuesday at TVFI’s annual Biarritz Rendez-Vous. Drama pre-sales soared an extraordinary 449% year-on-year in 2014.

If any figures were needed to demonstrate that it is not only the U.S. that is benefitting from a fiction feeding frenzy, Tuesday’s Gallic stats announcement was conclusive.

“There’s been a crisis but exports have really picked up,” said Mathieu Bejot, TVFI head.

Beyond the U.S , the U.K. – galvanized by sales of “Panthers,” a Warp Films/Haut et Court production, “Versailles,” produced by Capa Drama and an iconic Canal Plus Original Series – and Germany – where Profilages played well on ProSiebenSat – were key export markets for drama in Western Europe.

Animation remains France’s prime export fare, with overseas revenues dipping 3.9% to €45 million ($49.5 million) but that sales figure was still the second highest in the last 10 years, with 2013 hitting an all-time high. Fiction passed documentary as France’s second-biggest export type for the first time in at least 15 years.

“What’s striking is the diversity of programs being exported and diversity of clients, as well as diversity of territories. said Benoit Danard, CNC head of research, statistics and perspectives.

France would like to extend its audiovisual – including TV, not just film – co-production pacts, currently in place with just Canada and Australia. It is also revising selective incentive support for exports, said Christophe Tardieu, CNC director general. The new aid system would favor viral marketing. France’s CNC export fund – covering marketing expenses, for instance – will be doubled to €3.4 million ($4.4 million) in 2016, and more money made available for subtitling and dubbing, he added.

Per Tardieu, CNC is also studying automatic funding for shows that air successfully abroad. That measure needs E.U. clearance and would not kick in next year.

But France is on a international TV revenues roll. The next question fpr drama is whether free-to-air Gallic TV dramas can join cable fare from Canal Plus as an export driver.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content