Nationally produced fiction dominates top 10 across western Europe markets

Nationally produced fiction series continue to dominate the top 10 by audience in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, with distinct variations by genre between countries and a high degree of concentration in the channels that air the most popular series, according to a study by French media regulator the CSA.

All 10 most popular fiction series in Germany and the UK in 2018 were local shows, along with nine out of 10 of the most popular French and Italian shows and eight out of 10 in Spain. The figures for Italy and Spain represent a slight decline on 2017, when all of the top 10 were locally produced, with US series The Good Doctorperforming well in both countries in that year.

France, which a few years ago had a top 10 of which about half comprised imported shows, has seen strong growth in the popularity of local series in the last couple of years. In the UK, co-productions such as US-UK co-production McMafiamake up a significant portion of the most highly-rated shows.

The CSA study showed variation in popular genres between territories, with police-procedural series dominating the top 20 in Germany and to a lesser extent in France, while dramas are more predominant in Italy, Spain and the UK. Comedies also make up a significant portion in Italy and, to a lesser extent, in France.

The study revealed a high degree of concentration in the channels responsible for shows in the top 20. In France, commercial broadcaster TF1 was home to 17 of the top 20 in 2018, with public channel France 3 airing the remaining three. In Germany, public broadcaster ZDF had 16 of the top 20 and fellow pubcaster ARD had the remaining four.

In Italy, pubcaster Rai was home to 17 of the top 20, with Mediaset’s Canale 5 home to the other three, while in the UK, BBC1 aired 15 of the top 20, with ITV airing the remaining five. In Spain, Atresmedia’s Antena 3 aired 10 of the top 20, with RTVE’s La1 airing six and Mediaset’s Telecinco airing four.

New series dominated the French charts in 2018, with 13 new shows figuring in the top 20. Germany’s chart had the fewest new series with only own show on ARD figuring in the list.

TF1’s one-off drama Jacqueline Sauvage c’était lui ou moiwas the most popular French fiction production in 2018. ARD’s police procedural Tatortwas the most watched show in Germany. Antena 3’s series Cuerpo deElitetopped the Spanish chart while Il Commissario Montalbanoled in Italy.

BBC1’s drama series Bodyguardtopped the chart in the UK, unusually for a new show in a country where returning series usually lead.

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