ANNECY — Led by Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol” and ”Miraculous: Tale of Ladybug and Cat Noir,” animation still rules kids and family entertainment, according to the most recent Kids TV report by Paris-based Eurodata TV.
Focusing on Europe’s “big five” markets of France, Germany, U.K., Italy and Spain and the second half 2018, three-quarters of the top 20 rankings in the five territories are for animation shows, the remainder being live action and entertainment formats. Equally, 64% of the 28 new launches during the period in the five countries’ top 20 kids and family shows were animation shows. “Paw Patrol” is “by far” the most-watched kids show in Europe, with 96.4 million hours watched. ”Miraculous: Tale of Ladybug and Cat Noir” and “Spongebob Squarepants” ranked second and third respectively, July-Dec. 2018.
Of new entries this year, Nickelodeon’s “Top Wing” bowed on the U.K.’s Channel 5, France’s TF1, Spain’s and Italy’s Clan and performed well in the markets. Broadcast on Sunday mornings by TF1, it will not be in any top 20 for France, but was a ratings booster for the channel, said Candice Alessandra, international research manager, Médiamétrie/Eurodata TV Worldwide.
There are signs, however, of a build in the attraction of select live action shows. Of the five shows ranked in the top 20 in at least two of the five territories, after “Paw Patrol” and “Race to the Edge” two are Nickelodeon live-action comedy half hours: “Henry Danger” and “The Thundermans.”
Entertainment show “Hero Island” also ranks in some top 20s. Produced by Lucky Road Productions in Spain for Boing channels in both Spain and Italy, the game show has 12 contestants compete on an island to win the title of Hero and get a trip around the world for them and their family. In each episode children face challenges to put their endurance and intelligence to the test and one of them leaves the island
Some IP franchise shows – “Pokemon,” “Barbie” – still put in strong showings. Barbie is among top national rankings in France and Spain for July-December 2018 (as well as being well ranked in English-speaking Canada and Mexico).
The picture for animation in Europe is enriched, however, by significant national variations in consumption across Europe’s big five markets. In Italy, for example, children watch TV for an average 2 hours, 25 minutes, in Germany for just 1 hour 2 minutes. “This is a cultural question. In Italy, schools finish at 1 pm, in Germany at 3 pm,” said Alessandra.
At 18 minutes and 23% of average daily viewing, the highest proportion for any of Europe’s “big five” markets, U.K. children’s time shift consumption is stable, at the same level as in 2014. In France, by way of contrast, it is still growing, at 8 minutes during the second half last year, up from just 2% in 2014. “Live viewing remains predominant in Southern Europe: in Italy and Spain, catch up viewing on the TV set amounting to less than 4% of the total viewing time,” for 2018. the report reads.
A Eurodata TV survey for first half of 2018 taking in public TV channels in the “big five” – the U.K.’s CBBC, France 4, Germany’s KiKa, RAI Gulp and YoYo in Italy, Spain’s Clan – suggested that CBBC’s programming was almost entirely – over 90% – domestic shows or co-productions. Most of Clan’s shows are imports. Some 20% of French children’s shows are international co-productions, said Alessandra.
Differences can be explained by multiple factors, such as regulation and broadcaster financing. In France, broadcasters are obliged to produce domestic shows. In Spain, cash-strapped RTVE just does not have the funding to invest in a large number of national kid’s shows. Broadcasters are obliged to invest in domestic production but satisfy quotes by producing drama series.
European children’s TV remains highly competitive. Among channels with the best increases in market share are Disney Channel Germany, which increased its market share by 1.2 percentage points 2H 2019, thanks in part to “Mickey Mouse Squad,” compared to the same period a year earlier, and French public broadcaster channel France 4, whose market share increased from 6.2%, 2H 2017 to 7.2% a year later.
Disney is the biggest international group in market share in Spain, France and Germany, the Turner broadcasting group in Italy and Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) in the U.K, another national wrinkle, Alessandra said.