special report - Hollywood Reporter


special report - Hollywood Reporter
09-30 MIP 09 terr reps e
1:29 PM
Page 36
special report
What’s hot and not
in 11 global markets
The recession has shifted the sweet spot in
Canadian TV from conventional broadcasting to
pay TV.
The recent launch of HBO Canada has helped
fuel strong pay TV subscriber growth for partners
Astral Media and Corus Entertainment as such
free, over-the-air players as CTV and Canwest
heavily write down the value of their broadcast
assets and sell or close local
TV stations.
The culprit for broadcasters is a steep dive in ad revenue, while niche cable channels have so far managed to offset ad declines with more certain
subscriber fee revenue.
Broadcast woes have in turn sent Canadian
producers to partner with budget-conscious U.S.
networks on such dramas as CBS’ “Flashpoint,”
NBC’s “The Listener” and ABC’s “Defying Gravity,”
which have so far met with mixed ratings.
— Etan Vlessing
Even as musical
realties and slick
dramatic series
climb the ratings
charts, Mexico’s world-famous telenovelas still sit at the top of the heap.
Televisa has taken the genre to the
next level with its popular teen soaps.
Unlike the traditional fare, teen novelas
often are rolled out with 360-degree
marketing campaigns. Hit shows like
“Rebelde” and the recent “Dare to
Dream” have cashed in on scores of
products associated with the programs.
What’s more, Televisa’s multiplatform
approach has struck a chord with
young audiences seeking digital content.
Once a genre primarily targeting
hopelessly romantic housewives, now
teenyboppers are hopping on the
telenovela bandwagon.
— John Hecht
Entertainment, entertainment,
entertainment. Seems like Brits just
can’t get enough of the genre, with
competition-style entertainment
shows topping the ratings for the
main channels, whether it is “Strictly
Come Dancing” on the BBC – the
U.K.’s version of “Dancing With the
Stars” — or Simon
Cowell-fronted talent show “The XFactor” on ITV. The
BBC recently provoked howls of outrage from viewers
and politicos alike when it decided to
schedule its Saturday night special
“Dancing” directly opposite “X-Factor” in September. But ITV had the
last laugh, with an audience of 10
million for the first head-to-head
contest, compared to the BBC’s
“Dancing” with 8 million.
— Mimi Turner
Audiences in Germany are still
tuning in but advertisers are switching off. Dismal first-half results from
commercial giants RTL and
ProSiebenSat.1 attest to a growing
disconnect in the Teutonic market
between ratings and revenue. While
free-to-air channels have held market share compared with France or
the U.K., digital
channels have had
less impact fragmenting the market since ad sales have collapsed.
This has led to wide swaths of adfree air, which channels try to fill with
in-house promo spots.
German nets continue to go with
the tried and true. For RTL that means
long-running action series “Alarm for
Cobra 11,” which is bearing down on its
200th episode but continues to hold
an audience, drawing 4 million5 million viewers every week.
For ProSieben, the go-to show is
“Germany’s Next Top Model,” an
adaptation of the U.S. format hosted
by German uber-model Heidi Klum.
— Scott Roxborough
Gaul’s small screen biz has gone
through big changes this year. In January, ads were officially banned on
the country’s public TV networks
before 8 p.m., and, in
the wake of the global
financial crisis, the private stations saw ad
revenue plummet. The CSA, the
country’s broadcasting regulator, is
working on plans to make product
placement legal on the small screen,
which should be in effect as of year’s
end or early 2010. The French government also recently passed a 20%
tax rebate for foreign production,
which will benefit the TV sector.
Already, French networks have
been partnering with U.S. producers
and broadcasters for trans-Atlantic
productions. The French miniseries
“XIII” was lucky for pay TV giant
Canal Plus, with the English-language drama giving the channel its
highest ratings ever for a homegrown
fiction series. The four-hour saga,
starring Val Kilmer and Stephen
Dorff, attracted a sizable audience for
each of the two episodes
— Rebecca Leffler
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Since imports are
tough, localizing formats
has been the way to go in
China. Televisa plans to
follow two successful seasons of a localized
“Ugly Betty” — made for Hunan — with a format for SMG about a young woman who
feigns her death and moves to Shanghai
after discovering her husband’s affair. SMG’s
rebranded Dragon Satellite TV will shine a
light on the Shanghai Expo in 2010, a multinational trade show and the biggest event in
China since the Olympics. To boost that
effort, SMG’s International Channel’s
“Shanghai Rush” is an English-language reality TV competition targeting the growing
expatriate community — a sort of localized
“Amazing Race” set only in Shanghai.
— Jonathan Landreth
Major consolidation among regional nets
in Japan — most are subsidiaries of national
broadcasters — looks inevitable with digital
switch costs proportionally higher. There is even
talk that of the five
national commercial
networks — Fuji TV, TBS, NTV, TV Asahi and
TV Tokyo — only three may survive the advertising slowdown and digital switch.
On the programming front, there are more
game shows, quiz programs and, to a lesser
extent, news broadcasts, than ever. Although
networks are loath to admit this is strictly
cost-driven, with all the red ink on this year’s
balance sheets, cheaper programming is
undoubtedly attractive.
— Gavin J. Blair
Five national channels competing
with satellite and cable platforms,
along with the newer rivals of Internet and video games make Spain an
aggressive television landscape.
Sports rights — particularly the
Spanish professional league, held by
free-to-air channel La Sexta’s controlling stake owner Mediapro — are
coveted assets
that can turn the
tides. But prices in
this extremely
competitive environment mean
broadcasters must pick and choose.
The key to success, according to most
broadcasters and TV producers is a
successful homegrown fiction series
that inspires audience loyalty.
This year’s undisputed hit was
Globomedia’s “Aguila Roja,” which
broke records on its debut and kept
viewers tuned in to pubcaster Television Espanola. “Aguila” was the
only fiction series to break the 25%
audience share threshold-averaging
25.5% and 4.7 million viewers.
— Pamela Rolfe
Television ad revenue is set to sink
in Italy for the third consecutive year.
Through the first half of the year, sales
were down 11% year-over-year, though
officials from state broadcaster RAI
and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset both
said they hoped for a modest rebound
in the second half.
In recent
months, charges
of censorship have
also taken a toll,
with critics charging that Mediaset
news programs glossed over a series
of sex scandals involving leading
shareholder Berlusconi, who is also
Italy’s Prime Minister. “Videocracy,”
a Swedish-made documentary critical of the Italian television sector,
was denied a chance to buy ads on
all but La 7, the smallest national
Communications law requires
major terrestrial networks to migrate
to entirely digital signals by 2011. The
migration has led to some brief interruptions of service in the regions of
Sardinia and Vale d’Aosta, where the
transformation is almost completed.
— Eric J. Lyman
Hong Kong
The 2009 Aussie TV year has
been marked by record-breaking
audiences for new franchises on
broadcast TV, some equally spectacular failures and the successful
launch of niche digital terrestrial
multichannels. Paynet Foxtel is set
to follow suit in October with the
launch of 30 pay TV channels and
broadband TV
Shine’s “Masterchef Australia,” made here by FremantleMedia for youth-skewing Network Ten,
has been the breakout hit of the
year, tallying a record 4 million
viewers for the finale and an average 1.5 million capital city viewers
each weeknight. A second series
has been commissioned for 2010,
while the spinoff “Celebrity Masterchef” is being prepped for a yearend run on Ten.
“American Idol”-style singing contests have become all the rage, with
competing shows broadcasting from
both local terrestrial
channels. Although
far from being the
ratings smashes
their American
counterpart have been, “The Voice,”
from dominating Television Broadcasts, and “Asian Millionstar,” from
perennial underdog Asia Television,
proved attractive to viewers on Sunday primetime. “The Voice” gets 1.7
million viewers on average, whereas
“Asian Millionstar,” which has been
generating better word-of-mouth,
grabs 510,000 viewers. The direct
competitors occupy the same time
slot on Sundays and premiered on
the same night, July 19.
— Pip Bulbeck
— Karen Chu