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The audience of the programmes of fiction in the large European countries between 2009 and 2012

Publication date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Each year since 2009, the Council studies the prize list of audience of the programmes of televisual fiction in the principal European countries. It has presented this year a synthesis of the principal trends observed for four years, as well as a table of the audiences in the United States.

The Council makes public each year the prize list of the ten best audiences of the televisual fiction in the principal European countries (the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and France). In 2013, the prize list of the audiences of the televisual fiction in the United States was integrated into this presentation. By comparing the results over four years, of main tendencies can be released.

 

The national fiction obtains the best audiences in all the countries observed… except in France

In the totality of the studied European countries, the national plans of fiction occupy each year almost the totality of the ten best audiences collected by programs concerned with this kind. It is particularly the case in the United Kingdom and in Italy, where one finds ten local productions in the first ten places every year between 2009 and 2012.

Breakdown by origin of production of the programs appearing in the cumulated prize lists of the ten better annual audiences of 2009 to 2012

Breakdown by origin of production of the programs appearing in the cumulated prize lists of the ten better annual audiences of 2009 to 2012

In 2009, Experts: Miami was still placed in the tenth place of the audiences of the fiction to Germany and four American series appeared in the Spanish prize list. Except these specific exceptions, the national productions carry out the strongest audiences of the fiction in these two countries. Lastly, one notes the presence of only one international coproduction in these prize lists with the mini-series the Pillars of the ground in the fifth place of the prize list 2010 in Spain.

Over the same period, in France, the national productions of fiction occupy in a recurring way a minority place in the ten best audiences of the year.

Breakdown by origin of production of the programs appearing in the French prize lists

Breakdown by origin of production of the programs appearing in the French prize lists

 
The evolution of the results observed in France and Spain deserves to be underlined. The respective place of the national fictions among the ten best audiences was comparable in 2009. However, since 2011, ten Spanish productions appear in the prize list of the best audiences of the fiction in Spain, being based in particular on a modification of the policy of orders of the large chains in favour of the development of series and mini-series more expensive than the productions of the beginning of the years 2000.

A competition enters the principal public channels and private… except to France

In each studied European audiovisual landscape, the competition between the principal public channel and its concurrent general practitioners of the private sector appears in the prize lists of audience of the programs of the fiction.

France constitutes here still an exception to this trend. On the 40 programs entered during four exercises studied, the single fiction not diffused by TF1 was it by M6, with American series NCIS special investigations. This phenomenon is explained in particular by the difference in share of average audience between the principal French chains. Thus, TF1 has each year between 2009 and 2012 on the one hand audience higher from 8 to 9 points than that of France 2.

However, if one observes in a more precise way the audiences of the fiction on each chain, one notes that the productions coming from the United States also federate the best audiences on France 2. FBI reported missing, Cold puts and Castle carried out each year the best audiences of fiction of the chain, in front of the most federator national productions which are Do not make Ci do not do that and Small Murders of Agatha Christie. As regards France 3, the national fiction is on the other hand at the head with the constant performance over period 2009-2012 of more beautiful the life (which appeared each year in the three best audiences of the fiction of France Televisions).

Lastly, the nearly exclusive presence of TF1 in the prize list of the best audiences of the fiction since 2010 finds only one equivalent in Europe to a lesser extent, observed in Italy in 2010, with the entirety of the prize list occupied by programs diffused by the Rai1 public channel.

Breakdown by chains of diffusion of the programs appearing in the prize lists of the countries studied of 2009 to 2012

Breakdown by chains of diffusion of the programs appearing in the prize lists of the countries studied of 2009 to 2012

Programs headlights over the duration… except in Italy

One notes a stability in time of the programs most looked by the various public nationals. Italy constitutes the exception in this field, in particular because of prevalence of the format of the mini-series in the national production until these last years (five to seven mini-series in the ten best audiences of fiction of the year between 2009 and 2011).

As indicates it the following table, the propensity of the public to remain faithful to some emblematic programs can also be observed in the United States over the period 2009-2012.

Places occupied by the principal programmes of fiction in the prize lists of the studied countries

Places occupied by the principal programmes of fiction in the prize lists of the studied countries

 

The paradoxical situation of France east not to have powerful national productions over the duration, except notable for Joséphine guardian angel, classified for each year studied in the ten best audiences of the fiction. In same time, certain French productions, such as Clem (second in 2010) or Doc. Martin (fourth in 2011), do not appear any more in the prize list with their second season.

Contrary to the generally accepted idea of an increasing volatility of public confronted with the phenomenon of multiplication of the offer of audio-visual contents, some of the programs obtaining the strongest audiences in the studied countries have been present at the antenna for sometimes a decade, even several. These series make sure of a narrative renewal by the regular addition characters and the introduction of new sets of themes of company, being in particular of the daily serials or daily soaps British (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Eastenders) or the German detective series (Tatort, Polizeiruf 110, the Fox).

 

Seniority of the programs of fiction appearing in the prize lists of the studied countries

Seniority of the programs of fiction appearing in the prize lists of the studied countries

  

With each country its cultural particularisms…

The detailed examination of the situation in each studied country makes it possible to clarify the cravings of the public nationals for specific forms, formats and sets of themes which can be generally observed over a long period.

Marked by a beginning of evening much earlier than in the other European countries (the strong audiences are observed as of 7 p.m.), the British prize lists make the good share with the daily serials, based on a narration open of one episode to the other, multiple cross intrigues and the social realism of the exposed situations. The marked taste of the British for these programmes of first part of evening (unlike their American counterparts, programmed at the mid--day) also partly explains the strong presence of the short formats. On the 21 titles distinct placed during four years from observation in the ten best audiences of the fiction, only two productions, Downton Abbey and Sherlock, are one 90 minutes duration, whereas eight programs are of 26 minutes a unit format.

A contrario, whereas the German landscape of the televisual fiction was traditionally marked by the success of the medical series (three of them still appeared in the ten best audiences of the year 2009), the trend observed since 2010 seems to be with the reinforcement of the place of the unit telefilms, of which three or four appear each year in the prize list. Overall, the productions of heavy fiction (90 minutes and more per program) constitute from now on the quasi-integrality of the ten best audiences of the year in this country.

The Spanish prize list, for its part, is marked by the prevalence of the historical subjects. On the 27 national plans listed in annual classifications of the period 2009-2012, eleven productions were devoted to the evocation of periods founders of the national history, or proceeded in the past. The tormented context of the 20th century in this country, marked by the adoption of the Republic, the civil war, the pro-Franco period and the democratic transition, is used thus in particular of backdrop with successes of Señora, Amar in tiempos revueltos and Cuéntame comó pasó. In the same way, Isabel or Aguila roja are held for the central period of the XVE- XVIIE centuries. In addition and to a certain extent, the Spanish public shares the interest of the British public for the daily serials (telenovelas), such asAmar in tiempos revueltos or Gran Held.

Within the European landscapes, the Italian situation has the effect of developing the form of the biographical mini-series, to the detriment of the series, definitely majority in the other countries. On the 37 programs distinct listed in the ten best audiences from the years 2009-2012, twenties concerned the shape of the unit telefilm or in two parts (against any in the United Kingdom, 3 out of 22 in France, 7 out of 32 in Spain or 11 out of 27 in Germany). If the prevalence of these programs is a little less clear than it was it in particular in 2010 (six of the ten best audiences of the year were occupied by lives of characters such as the Sissi empress, the cyclist Costante Girardengo or holy Augustin), these biographical novels all the same represented the two best audiences of the year 2012, with programs devoted to the Virgin Mary and judge anti Mafia Paolo Borsellino. The series record nevertheless a success growing, passing from two classified programs in 2010 with eight programs in 2012.

France constitutes the only country where a short fiction, one six minutes duration per episode (Our dear neighbors), finds its niche in the ten best audiences of the year over the studied period, constituting a sign encouraging of innovation of the sector on its models of production, in particular in order to exceed the recurring difficulties to develop long series. Thus, only one French series, Joséphine guardian angel, managed to place an episode in the prize list over more than one year, against ten in the United Kingdom, six to Germany, four to Spain and three to Italy. The evolution of the tastes of the public during the last decade can be also observed by measuring the place of the 90 minutes fiction. The attractivity of this format, which constituted a long time most powerful concerning the audience in France (in spite of difficulties of producing for boxes other than the first part of evening and of finding export markets), does not cease being reduced since 2010 (only one title classified in 2012 against five titles in 2010), with the profit in particular 52 minutes (Doc. Martin, Shaping, Research department).

Lastly, as regards the United States, the year 2012 was remembered by the entry in the prize list of the ten best audiences of the fiction of a program of a cabled chain, History, with the mini-series Hatfields and Mc Coys.

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