In this week’s International TV Newswire Variety looks at international free-to-air sports rights, ITV finds its new “Love Island” host after off-camera drama, “Money Heist” tops non-English-language binge ratings, Endemol Shine adapts “Trial by Fire” and Spanish TV’s boom might still be on the horizon.
Free-To-Air Remains Bastion of Major Sports Events
Amazon Prime Video has just swooped on Premier League and German Champions League rights. DAZN is hunting ever more around the more major margins of sports rights, taking the Premier League in Spain, and sharing the Champions League in Germany. Free to air TV remains, however, a bastion of big international sporting events, suggests a recent report, the 2019 edition of Yearly Sports Key Facts, published by Mediamétrie’s Glance. That’s partly because of regulation: Final phase matches are prohibited by law from receiving exclusive pay TV broadcast. But it also reflects a move by broadcast networks to reinforce their status as live event purveyors, whether sports or reality shows extravaganzas.
With no major soccer competition last season, what did audiences watch? One answer, the report suggests, is a tourney which became a major soccer competition: the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In France, the quarter-final crunch between France and the U.S. attracted the highest audience so far in 2019 for any programming type, with 10.7 million viewers and a 49.6% audience share on TF1. Equally, the two highest 2019 sports TV audiences in Japan were for two Rugby World Cup matches, including Japan’s gallant loss to South Africa (a 57.4% share for NHK G in the Kanto region).
Extraordinary but true, with Bayern Munich and German’s national team languishing, the biggest sports result in Germany was not for any soccer match last season but the World Men’s Handball Championship between Germany and Norway (11.9 million, 36.4% for ARD). When it comes to a big sports triumph fix, audiences these days just can’t get enough.
ITV2 Announces New “Love Island” Host Amid Controversy
U.K. broadcaster ITV2 has announced that Laura Whitmore will be taking over as host for the sixth season of its popular reality dating series “Love Island,” replacing former host Caroline Flack who was forced to step down from the position after police charged her with assaulting her boyfriend. Flack was arrested last week after her partner, former tennis-pro Lewis Burton, called the police in what has become a highly publicized falling out. ITV has offered to provide counseling for Flack, after receiving criticism for not backing the popular host as they had previously done for another of the network’s popular presenters, Anthony McPartlin, following a drunk driving incident.
“Money Heist” Cracks TV Time’s 2019 Top 10 Binge Report
Season 3 of Netflix’s “Money Heist” (“Casa de Papel”) was the only non-English-language series to break into TV Time’s 2019 Binge Report, a user-based list of the year’s most-binged TV series from any platform in any market. The result further solidifies the series’ reputation as a language barrier-crossing phenomenon, with Netflix having declared it the service’s best-ever performing non-Englfish-language title. The most-binged series of the year according to TV Time was Netflix’s resurrection of “Lucifer,” canceled by Fox in 2018. Netflix’s “Stranger Things” Season 3 came in at fifth, with other familiar faces filling out this year’s list including NBC’s “Friends” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother,” and The CW’s “Riverdale.” TV Time’s weekly Binge Report ranks shows with the most binge sessions according to the service’s user base. A binge session is classified as any time four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the TV Time app within a given day.
Endemol Shine India Announces WebSeries Adaptation of “Trial by Fire”
Based on Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy’s book “Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy,” a firsthand account of the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire in Delhi which took the lives of 59 people, including the authors’ own children Unnati and Ujjwal, and the two decades of legal battles which followed in which the couple unceasingly advocated for the victims’ families against the cinema’s owners. Prashant Nair (“Umrika,” “Made in Heaven”) will showrun and direct the series, produced by Sidharth Jain from Mumbai’s The Story Ink. The series joins other Endemol Shine India productions in progress “Bombay Begums” for Netflix and “The Ibis Trilogy,” co-produced by Shekhar Kapur and the U.K.’s Tiger Aspect.
Spanish TV: 2020’s Big Boom
Yes, TV Time rates “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) as one of the 10 most-binged series in the world. The real boom in Spanish TV production will be seen next year, however. In 2020, however, the number of premium fiction releases in Spain will near double to 70 from 40 this year, between new and returning series, TodoTVNews calculates. Reason? It’s only next year that the global or regional platforms really hit their stride, as far as releases go. Movistar Plus has announced 11 news shows, with five more to return, though not all may open in 2020; Netflix has some 11 bows next year, Amazon Prime Video five, HBO España three. Original Series bump sub growth. Just how much in such an increasingly crowded field is another question. Analysts will be keenly scrutinizing platform take-up in 2020.