In a virtual presentation made available on the Mipcom Online Plus platform Monday morning, Glance (Global Audience & Content Evolution) unveiled the trends that have and will stand out from what has been an exceptional year for the TV industry.
“All over the world, viewers have increased in number and have become more devoted to the programs that they watch,” Glance VP Frédéric Vaulpré explained in an accompanying release. “In the first half of 2020, there was a trend towards an increase in television viewing time, with the lockdown having increased the amount of time that families spend together. And in addition to a larger audience, the health crisis has had a real impact on the content produced and released in 2020.”
“Producers have had to demonstrate their reactivity and imagination to drive or serve this audience,” added Glance head of content insight Avril Blondelot. “Until now, 10% of the productions launched in 2020 are linked, in one way or another, to the health crisis. Changed or transformed, all genres have benefitted from it. International co-productions are more needed now than ever before, game shows, thrillers and travel programs continue to attract large audiences.”
Below, five major trends in programming highlighted by Glance at Mipcom.
Programs such as Belgium’s funeral home-set “Komen Te Gaan: Corona” and the U.S.’s “Restaurant Impossible: Back in Business” tweaked their existing formats to explore how the industries they cover were affected by COVID-19. Meanwhile, workout series shifted to at-home exercises, as seen in Spain’s “Muévete en casa,” where fitness instructor Cesc Escolà used household items to create workout routines demonstrated in his own living room.
Cooking programs saw similar changes, with families forced to eat-in more than ever. In France, Cyril Lignac’s “Tous en Cuisine” saw tremendous ratings success when the chef switched from cooking in the studio to his own home.
Scripted programming has also been adapted around the world. “Good Omens” co-stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen featured in “Staged,” turning on West End actors furloughed during the pandemic. In Colombia, popular novela “Enfermeras” (Nurses) was adapted as “Enfermeras 24/7,” putting the characters into the thick of the coronavirus crisis.
Much of the TV industry has an acceleration of pre-existing trends in production as COVID-19 has forced a rethink in how to safely and profitably make TV content. One popular solution that continued its upward trend in 2020 was international co-production, particularly in Europe.
According to Glance, while 5% of locally produced scripted series launched in 2017-18 were co-productions, from 2019-20 it was nearly double that at 9%. Noteworthy, two-thirds of the co-productions clocked by Glance were non-English-language. Belgian-French series “A Good Year” was offered up as one of seven co-productions being made between 2019-22, while only five series were co-produced between the two countries in the eight years prior. Whether international co-production on new shows has held during COVID-19 is another matter. An Ampere Analysis study suggests not.
True stories, particularly true crime, exports well from just about anywhere. British series “White House Farm,” produced for ITV by New Pictures, landed on major networks across Europe such as BBCOne, DR1, CBC, NRK1, NPO2, Seven and Canvas, pulling an audience rating that was 30% above the average for its time slots.
Pre- and post-COVID-19, thriller series have been a hot property. One exciting example presented by Blondelot is “Wisher” from China. China has not always had a strong tradition of thriller series, but “Wisher,” about a mobile phone app that grants wishes, bucked that trend for broadcaster iQiyi.
Thrillers also tend to export well as demonstrated by Netflix’s “Dark” from Germany and “The Stranger” from the U.K. and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” from the U.S.
Unable to leave their own homes, let alone their cities or countries, audiences tuned in en masse to travel programs. Several existing programs have gone domestic in their scope, introducing audiences to parts of their own countries they may not otherwise be familiar with. A prime example presented on Monday is Denmark’s “Anne et Anders,” which put its hosts in an RV that travels the Danish countryside.
In the U.K., popular travel host Romesh Ranganathan reformatted his popular travelog series “The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan” to “Misadventures from My Sofa,” where he was reunited with three series co-hosts to revisit past experiences and share previously unseen footage.
BONUS TREND – VIDEO GAMES
Video Games are inspiring massive amounts of new TV content from competitive unscripted game shows to live action and animated remakes of popular IPs. Netflix has enjoyed unprecedented success with its live action “The Witcher” adaptation and announced a fourth season for its animated “Castlevania” series in March. Amazon Prime Video and Showtime are adapting two of the most lucrative game franchizes of all time in “Fallout” and “Halo” respectively.