TV channels increase bold, high-end content to compete

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 30-05-2013

While competition in the TV market has never been fiercer, creativity and the need to stand out are more important than ever. That's the message delivered by the 2013 review of international TV trends published by Eurodata TV Worldwide.

This heightened competition is favourable to the creative process, particularly when it comes to fiction, all the more so as new players such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have clearly changed things regarding their offer.
In the US, the number of pay-TV subscribers is down to the benefit of SVOD, and the list of original series proposed by the network players continues to lengthen. Following House of Cards (with Kevin Spacey) and Hemlock Grove (directed by Eli Roth), Netflix launched into comedy with Bad Samaritans and, coming soon, Orange is the New Black. Amazon has just confirmed that it's ordered the full series of Betas and Alpha House (with John Goodman). And Hulu has turned to Western Quickdraw and the animated sitcom Mother Up! starring Eva Longoria.
Traditional TV is now orientating itself towards high-end series featuring big names, at once more original and taking more editorial risks. Nostalgia, with TV dramas such as Mr Selfridge (ITV Studios Global Entertainment) and Hotel Adlon (Beta), is a key factor in the 2013 programming.
Eurodata TV points to the change in the crime genre with international co-productions such as Death of a Pilgrim (ZDF Enterprises), Crossing Lines (Tandem Communication), and the thriller The Fall (Content Television/ZDF Enterprises) with Gillian Anderson (X-Files), as well as the commercial success of the mid-season with The Following (Warner Bros Television Distribution) starring Kevin Bacon.
"More generally, while entertainment remains resolutely light, fiction allows itself to become ever darker, creating strange worlds such as that of the British conspiracy thriller Utopia (Shine International) and Bates Motel (NBC Universal International Television Distribution)," writes Eurodata. This Psycho prequel set an audience record for the US cable channel A&E as it reached 4.5 million viewers, including 2.5 million 18-49-year-olds, with the first episode.
"In the face of increasing competition and in a troubled economic context, television – an important social tie – continues its mutation. We are seeing a move upmarket across all genres, which responds to the increasing demands of the public," said Amandine Cassi, head of research, and Julia Espérance, media consultant at IMCA.