Eurodata TV Worldwide’s Frédéric Vaulpré and Avril Blondelot presented the agency’s One Television Year in the World report at MipTV earlier this week, a generally positive take on the state of broadcast TV thanks to new broadcasting methods and dynamic creations.
In a study of 94 countries, Eurodata estimated that average daily TV viewing time in 2018 was down only one minute from the previous year, although that number varied significantly from territory to territory – in the U.S. it decreased nine minutes, whereas in parts of Asia the number grew.
According to Eurodata Worldwide vice president Vaulpré, “If we put this into perspective by looking at how these figures change over the long term, in the most recent years, viewing times around the world are down slightly, but are still at a comparable level to the early 2000s. The American continent and Europe have broadly exceeded the global average since the beginning of the 1990s. Over the last 25 years, daily viewing time has been stable in North America and has even increased in South America and in Europe. TV is in good health and is also benefitting from new consumer practices.”
The report provided a detailed, data-oriented look into the trends that shaped the TV landscape in 2018, while predicting those which will dictate viewing trends over the rest of 2019.
Internet and catch-up viewing continued to increase over the last year, and broadcasters have adapted to accommodate for that. In 2018, 8.3% of tracked TV viewing time was done via catch-up. Similarly, internet viewing continues to grow, leading to broadcasters making more content available online.
The standout new viewing feature of 2018 was pre-broadcasting, where a program is made available ahead of its live TV broadcast by the broadcaster, typically via its own platform. In the U.K. pre-broadcast viewing already accounts for 21% of the final audience for programs which offer the option.
Speaking with Variety, Eurodata head of content insight Avril Blondelot explained that of the 32 highest-rated show-launches in 2018, 24 were for scripted series, “Which is interesting because when we look at what has been launched across all our databases, scripted content only makes up 41% of it.”
Around 500 platforms are included in the data collection, including free-to-air TV, pay TV, SVOD platforms and online services.
One key factor in this year’s data, according to Blondelot, was that comedies are taking a bigger piece of the pie. In 2016 only one comedy cracked the top 32 releases, last year two, and this year five have made the leap.
“What’s interesting is that it’s not only local comedies. ‘Roseanne’ was the top launch in English-speaking Canada and ‘Young Sheldon’ did the same in Australia,” she explained.
So what should the industry be paying attention to for the rest of 2019? According to Eurodata TV, a few trends stand out.
Programming meant to provoke contradictory emotions, particularly those revolving around medical operations, have done well so far. NK1 in Norway’s “113” and “Operation Live” on U.K.’s Channel 5 and Australia’s Seven stand out as two such examples.
In fiction, political programing is doing well. “Project Blue Book” in the U.S. follows the CIA in the 1950s and has been a hit for History Channel. In the U.K., Studio Canal distributed and much-anticipated “Years & Years,” which world premiered at Canneseries, is a near-future drama about a family caught up in the politics of a world facing economic uncertainty.
2019 also looks to see international series and formats continue to do well outside of their home territories. Recently the South Korean music talent show “The Masked Singer” format was recently adapted in the U.S.
The report’s final conclusion is that co-productions are likely to become more and more popular in an increasingly globalized world. The Chile-Finland co-production “Invisible Heroes,” world premiered at MIPTV, about the involvement of a Finnish diplomat in saving thousands of refugees from Pinochet’s bloody coup, will launch April 21 on YLE with other Nordic broadcasters and Chilevision premieres scheduled for later in the year.
“Audiences are as much driven by their instincts as their interest in specific topics that are currently in the public domain – they are also forever curious and hungry for new ideas or new ways to access familiar spaces,” summarized Paul Youngbluth, director of Tape Consultancy, which co-hosted the MipTV presenation. “TV has but one challenge – to keep up with them!”