French programs have brought in €276 million ($304.7 million) from international sales and foreign investment through co-productions in 2018. It marks the third highest performance of the last 25 years, according to a study unveiled by the French National Film Board, or CNC, and TV France International.
Sales of French programs alone accounted for $190 million (compared with €205 million last year), driven by animation and fiction shows. The report, unveiled during the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema hosted by TV France International in Biarritz, also said that the rise of international streaming services has bolstered the sales of French TV programs, in particular animation and crime series such as “Baron noir,” which was acquired by Amazon U.K., HBO Go Scandinavia and Spain and Ivi in Russia.
Dominique Boutonnat, the new president of the CNC, said the export of French TV programs has been thriving in spite of the competitive marketplace. “It is key to continue supporting quality co-productions to conquer new territories,” he said, adding that developing the “creativity of French works must remain a core ambition.”
Hervé Michel, who presides over TV France International, said the French sales sector is in a consolidation phase and will be key to “allow our content to continue making inroads into new territories throughout the world.”
Local animation, one of France’s strongest creative sectors, represented nearly 40% of all programming exports in 2018, totaling $76 million in sales. While the U.S. and Germany remained the top two foreign buyers of French animation, China rose to the third spot, with nearly $5.5 million in acquisitions in 2018, along with Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The bestselling animated series last year were “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” “Totally Spies,” “Raving Rabbids,” “Mon chevalier et moi,” “Paf le chien and “Molang.”
Fiction programs garnered $55.2 million in sales, bolstered by new series like “Philharmonia” and “Maroni,” as well returning series such as the cop show “Spiral” and the female-driven detective series “Candice Renoir,” “Baron Noir” and “Guyane.” Apart from “Candice Renoir,” which was commissioned by the public broadcaster France Televisions, all the bestselling returning series are from Canal Plus.
TV documentaries remained a popular genre abroad, bringing in more than $33 million in 2018 for the sixth consecutive year. “Apocalypse,” “Homo Sapiens,” “700 Sharks” and “Regarde le monde” were some of the top-selling titles.
France’s TV export sector benefits from a vast range of co-production treaties fueling the level of foreign investment. These agreements include the bilateral Franco-Italian fund, Franco-German subsidy fund, a co-production agreement with Brazil, and the subsidy for young French-language creation in sub-Saharan Africa.