Trends in EU TV

1st April 2009

The European Audiovisual Observatory recently reported new data from Volume 2 of its Yearbook “Trends in European television”, which was published last month.

The yearbook examined the origin of fiction programmes (TV series, TV films, feature films, short films, animated films) broadcast by 124 channels in 13 European countries. Its analysis uncovered that American fiction is overwhelmingly dominant on European television screens, but there are signs that nationally produced fiction is improving in distribution.

However, Ireland was near the bottom of the tables. Only 4.4% of drama broadcast on Irish TV was home-grown, 33.4% came from other non-national EU countries, but the majority — 62.2% — originated in America. Only Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Luxemburg produced less indigenous programming than Ireland.

France was top of the league: it produced 28.2% of its programming from within the country, bought another 32% from non-national EU sources, and only broadcast 39.8% of American fiction.

Britain followed with nearly a fifth of its TV drama produced nationally, with Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands close behind. It’s worth noting that Britain has the second-lowest rate of non-national EU programming (12.3%), which means that it imported more American programming than Ireland (68.4%).

The least progressive was Luxemburg: 99.5% of its broadcasts were American programming, with a tiny 0.5% coming from non-national EU sources, and nothing produced from within its own borders.

The Sunday Independent wrote up a brief piece on the report and quoted James Morris, chairman of the Irish Film Board: “It is no coincidence that the European countries that have a strong policy towards supporting and broadcasting their own local programming are the same countries which have the strongest film and television production industries with huge export potential.”

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