×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

French TV Animation: Kids Shows’ VOD Sales Buoy Overseas Biz

Animation remains the most internationally-oriented segment of the French film and TV industries

For one week in June, much of the world’s animation business gathers at the Annecy Animation Festival in the French Alps.

Beyond the U.S., no animation presence is as important as France’s. This isn’t just a case of France playing host. The French TV animation sector is the world’s third largest, after the U.S. and Japan, generating €45 million ($51.3 million) in total exports in 2014, according to data disclosed by French state film agency, the CNC.

French TV animation repped 29.3% of total French TV programming sales in 2014 – the biggest single category.

TV animation is also the most internationally-oriented segment of the French film and TV industry – 73.1% of shows were co-produced with foreign partners in 2014, compared to 39% for TV fiction and 15.9% for TV documentaries.

International sales of French TV animation recorded five consecutive years of growth between 2009 and 2013, then dipped by 3.9% in 2014 primarily due to a reduction in the volume of programming in that year.

Sales data for 2015 is not yet available, but Mathieu Bejot, executive director of French export promotion org TV France International states that the underlying sales trend is positive, especially in kids programming platforms where there are buoyant sales. He says that TVFI members have also stated that the proportion of deals with VOD platforms, including U.S. platforms, has increased.

Western Europe is the main source of foreign sales of French TV animation – contributing 59.6% of total sales in 2015, with a further 5% from Central and Eastern Europe. Licensing deals to North America repped 24.8% of total sales in 2005 but fell to 12.8% in 2014, now surpassed by sales to the Asia/Pacific regions, at 13.8%.

France is the second biggest foreign supplier of animation programming to U.S. kids channels, after Canada, according to data disclosed by the French animation producers union, SPFA, and TV France International. Top selling French series in the U.S. include: “Pyjamasques,” produced by Frog Box, on Disney Junior; “Miraculous: The Tale of Ladybug and Cat Noir” (Zag Toon, Method Animation), airing on Nickelodeon; “Alvin and the Chimpmunks” (Ouido) on Nick Junior; and “Garfield” (Mediatoon) on Boomerang.

On SVOD platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, top shows take in “Super 4” (Method Animation), “Zou” (Cyber Group Studios), “Vic the Viking” (Studio 100), “Foot2Rue” (Zodiak Kids), “F is For Family” (Gaumont Animation), “Mouk” (Millimages), and “Sam Sam” (Mediatoon).

In terms of volume of first-run originated animation hours, France is dwarfed by the U.K. – 1,446 hours in the U.K. compared to 260 hours in France in 2014, per data disclosed by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO).

But according to the EAO, French TV animation ranks above the U.K., in terms of animation programs listed in MIPJunior’s Top 30 lists of most-requested shows, by country, for 2010-2014.

Gallic animation skeins encompass a large spectrum of production, ranging from pre-school to animation projects for adult audiences, and including 2D and 3D animation.

Nonetheless, the main demographic target continues to be from pre-school to 6-12 year-olds, with pronounced narratives, well-known characters, slick visuals and physical comedy. Many French series are based on high-profile or existing properties, linked to France’s strong comic book market, which makes it possible to launch characters who have many followers, not just in France but also abroad.

Marc du Pontavice, prexy of Xilam (“Oggy and the Cockroaches”) comments: “In French live action film and TV, most of the comedy is either with culturally-driven dialog or situation comedy, which is obviously culturally ingrained,” he suggests. “In animation, the language we are using is physical comedy, in the tradition of Chaplin and silent cinema, something that everyone can relate to very easily.”

Recent series featuring characters based on books, include  “Simon” (produced by G-N) from books by Stephanie Blake, “PJ Masks” (TeamTO), “Bobby and Bill” (Mediatoon), and “Will” (produced by Cross River, distributed by Superights).

Foreign sales of French TV animation is more concentrated than in other segments – with 58.7% of sales contributed by the top five companies and 78.7% by the top ten companies in 2014.

More Film

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Heather Parry Fired From Live Nation Productions

    Live Nation Entertainment announced Thursday that Heather Parry will leave the company following a Variety investigation into allegations of workplace bullying. Parry ran Live Nation Productions, the TV and film arm of the touring conglomerate, for three years. In December, Variety reported that Live Nation’s human resources department had been repeatedly warned that Parry was [...]

  • A still from Sea of Shadows

    Sundance Film Review: 'Sea of Shadows'

    It’s a decidedly grim circle of life that moves us all in “Sea of Shadows,” a tight, troubling documentary eco-thriller that charts a compelling course of consequence from Chinese black-market apothecaries to the near-extinction of a rare whale in the Sea of Cortez, hitting on Mexican crime cartels and institutional corruption along the way. Austrian [...]

  • Matt Smith, Thomasin McKenzie Circle Edgar

    Matt Smith, 'Leave No Trace' Star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie Circle Edgar Wright Movie

    Matt Smith and “Leave No Trace” star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie are in negotiations to join Edgar Wright’s next film, “Last Night in Soho,” sources tell Variety. Details are vague about the psychological horror movie, other than it being set in London’s Soho district. Anya Taylor Joy is also in the cast. Production is expected to [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

  • Michael B Jordan denzel washington

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Denzel Washington's 'Journal for Jordan'

    Michael B. Jordan is in talks to star in Sony’s “Journal for Jordan,” a drama that will be directed by Denzel Washington. The movie, penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Virgil Williams, is based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dana Canedy’s love affair with First Sergeant Charles Monroe King. King kept a journal [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone

    Sylvester Stallone's Superhero Drama 'Samaritan' Lands at MGM

    MGM is developing the superhero drama “Samaritan” with Sylvester Stallone attached to star and produce through his Balboa Productions. The studio has acquired Bragi F. Schut’s script, which centers on a boy learning that a missing superhero, who vanished 20 years earlier after a battle, may still be alive. MGM will develop “Samaritan” with Stallone [...]

  • Kendrick Lamar

    Oscars: Kendrick Lamar and SZA Will Not Perform 'Black Panther' Song (EXCLUSIVE)

    Despite the Academy’s efforts to secure Kendrick Lamar and SZA for a performance of the Oscar-nominated song “All the Stars” from “Black Panther” on the upcoming Oscars telecast, the duo will not be a part of the show, Variety has learned. The reason, according to a source close to the situation, is logistics and timing. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content