TV trends marry pop and geek cultures

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 17-01-2014

Economic, technological and social evolutions are shaping TV content in both its narrative and consumption, as they reflect an attachment to local heritage as well as hyper-connection, reveals the International TV Trend 2013-2014 study from Eurodata TV.

The search for authenticity finds its roots in popular culture and literature. In addition to the US series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Disney Media Distribution), inspired by the movie The Avengers, the Spanish miniseries The Time In Between (Boomerang TV International), has been adapted from the novel Entre Costuras, which was translated into more than 20 languages.

Original creations also continue to thrive in Europe with series such as the Belgian Eigen Kweek (Eyeworks), in which a family of farmers starts cultivating cannabis in order to make ends meet. The comedy gained almost 17 market share points between the first episode and the sixth, Eurodata points out.

Local successes are also making their way to the international market with the South Korean series Nine: Nine Times Ten (CJ E&M Corporation) soon to be adapted in the US (ABC).

Comedy entertainment formats are going worldwide too. Belgian jokes successfully substituted British humour in Geubels En De Belgen.

But local heritage and pop culture are struggling with the geek culture.

"The explosion of digital equipment and connected devices, and more widely the domination of social networks, has made us bigger fans of technology than ever. Television has adapted its narrative schemes to take these evolutions into account," Eurodata explains.

Science formats are evolving, highlighting technology and popular appeal through experiments with a selection of programmes placing the human body at the disposal of scientists.

In the Norwegian documentary Fylla (Teddy TV) a group of volunteers demonstrate the effects of alcohol on the human body.

Graphics and special effects are also increasingly used in factual programmes, like in the Dutch magazine show Eureka (Warner Bros International) which uses mathematical formulas and visual aids to answer practical questions.

Collaborative TV is backed by new technologies and the expansion of social networks.

The Australian public service has created Exhumed (ABC Australia) where all radio, television and internet entities contribute to find the best amateur music group.

In the French series What Ze teuf? (Kabo) and Danish sitcom Sjit Happens (Fridthjof Film), the audience is asked to contribute to the creative process itself. Viewers are invited to send ideas and anecdotes via Twitter to help write the episodes.

The Eurodata TV study also finds that facing "total connection and infobesity, enthusiasm is growing for the digital detox."

Likes Apps, books and training courses, television is also encouraging viewers to disconnect and go back to refuges such as the family circle.

In Norway, NRK2 slowed the tempo by broadcasting 19 hours of the knitting competition National Knitting Evening (DRG).

In The Moaning of Life (BBC Worldwide), Karl Pilkington travels the world asking questions about life, death, faith and happiness. The average audience of the slot on Sky1 has been multiplied by four among the 16-34-year-olds.