Broadcast Barometer

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special report - The Hollywood Reporter

09-30 MIP 09 terr reps e 9/29/09 1:29 PM Page 36MIPCOMspecial reportBroadcastBarometerWhat’s hot and notin 11 global marketsCanadaThe recession has shifted the sweet spot inCanadian TV from conventional broadcasting topay TV.The recent launch of HBO Canada has helpedfuel strong pay TV subscriber growth for partnersAstral Media and Corus Entertainment as suchfree, over-the-air players as CTV and Canwestheavily write down the value of their broadcastassets and sell or close localTV stations.The culprit for broadcastersis a steep dive in ad revenue,while niche cable channels have so far managedto offset ad declines with more certainsubscriber fee revenue.Broadcast woes have in turn sent Canadianproducers 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 VlessingMexicoEven as musicalrealties and slickdramatic seriesclimb the ratingscharts, Mexico’s world-famous telenovelasstill sit at the top of the heap.Televisa has taken the genre to thenext level with its popular teen soaps.Unlike the traditional fare, teen novelasoften are rolled out with 360-degreemarketing campaigns. Hit shows like“Rebelde” and the recent “Dare toDream” have cashed in on scores ofproducts associated with the programs.What’s more, Televisa’s multiplatformapproach has struck a chord withyoung audiences seeking digital content.Once a genre primarily targetinghopelessly romantic housewives, nowteenyboppers are hopping on thetelenovela bandwagon.— John HechtU.K.Entertainment, entertainment,entertainment. Seems like Brits justcan’t get enough of the genre, withcompetition-style entertainmentshows topping the ratings for themain channels, whether it is “StrictlyCome Dancing” on the BBC – theU.K.’s version of “Dancing With theStars” — or SimonCowell-fronted talentshow “The X-Factor” on ITV. TheBBC recently provokedhowls of outrage from viewersand politicos alike when it decided toschedule its Saturday night special“Dancing” directly opposite “X-Factor”in September. But ITV had thelast laugh, with an audience of 10million for the first head-to-headcontest, compared to the BBC’s“Dancing” with 8 million.— Mimi TurnerGermanyAudiences in Germany are stilltuning in but advertisers are switchingoff. Dismal first-half results fromcommercial giants RTL andProSiebenSat.1 attest to a growingdisconnect in the Teutonic marketbetween ratings and revenue. Whilefree-to-air channels have held marketshare compared with France orthe U.K., digitalchannels have hadless impact fragmentingthe marketsince ad sales have collapsed.This has led to wide swaths of adfreeair, which channels try to fill within-house promo spots.German nets continue to go withthe tried and true. For RTL that meanslong-running action series “Alarm forCobra 11,” which is bearing down on its200th episode but continues to holdan audience, drawing 4 million-5 million viewers every week.For ProSieben, the go-to show is“Germany’s Next Top Model,” anadaptation of the U.S. format hostedby German uber-model Heidi Klum.— Scott RoxboroughFranceGaul’s small screen biz has gonethrough big changes this year. In January,ads were officially banned onthe country’s public TV networksbefore 8 p.m., and, inthe wake of the globalfinancial crisis, the privatestations saw adrevenue plummet. The CSA, thecountry’s broadcasting regulator, isworking on plans to make productplacement legal on the small screen,which should be in effect as of year’send or early 2010. The French governmentalso recently passed a 20%tax rebate for foreign production,which will benefit the TV sector.Already, French networks havebeen partnering with U.S. producersand broadcasters for trans-Atlanticproductions. The French miniseries“XIII” was lucky for pay TV giantCanal Plus, with the English-languagedrama giving the channel itshighest ratings ever for a homegrownfiction series. The four-hour saga,starring Val Kilmer and StephenDorff, attracted a sizable audience foreach of the two episodes— Rebecca LefflerSp36 THR.COM 09.30.09


09-30 MIP 09 terr reps e 9/29/09 1:30 PM Page 37ChinaSince imports aretough, localizing formatshas been the way to go inChina. Televisa plans tofollow two successful seasons of a localized“Ugly Betty” — made for Hunan — with a formatfor SMG about a young woman whofeigns her death and moves to Shanghaiafter discovering her husband’s affair. SMG’srebranded Dragon Satellite TV will shine alight on the Shanghai Expo in 2010, a multinationaltrade show and the biggest event inChina since the Olympics. To boost thateffort, SMG’s International Channel’s“Shanghai Rush” is an English-language realityTV competition targeting the growingexpatriate community — a sort of localized“Amazing Race” set only in Shanghai.— Jonathan LandrethSpainFive national channels competingwith satellite and cable platforms,along with the newer rivals of Internetand video games make Spain anaggressive television landscape.Sports rights — particularly theSpanish professional league, held byfree-to-air channel La Sexta’s controllingstake owner Mediapro — arecoveted assetsthat can turn thetides. But prices inthis extremelycompetitive environment meanbroadcasters must pick and choose.The key to success, according to mostbroadcasters and TV producers is asuccessful homegrown fiction seriesthat inspires audience loyalty.This year’s undisputed hit wasGlobomedia’s “Aguila Roja,” whichbroke records on its debut and keptviewers tuned in to pubcaster TelevisionEspanola. “Aguila” was theonly fiction series to break the 25%audience share threshold-averaging25.5% and 4.7 million viewers.— Pamela RolfeItalyTelevision ad revenue is set to sinkin Italy for the third consecutive year.Through the first half of the year, saleswere down 11% year-over-year, thoughofficials from state broadcaster RAIand Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset bothsaid they hoped for a modest reboundin the second half.In recentmonths, chargesof censorship havealso taken a toll,with critics charging that Mediasetnews programs glossed over a seriesof sex scandals involving leadingshareholder Berlusconi, who is alsoItaly’s Prime Minister. “Videocracy,”a Swedish-made documentary criticalof the Italian television sector,was denied a chance to buy ads onall but La 7, the smallest nationalnetwork.Communications law requiresmajor terrestrial networks to migrateto entirely digital signals by 2011. Themigration has led to some brief interruptionsof service in the regions ofSardinia and Vale d’Aosta, where thetransformation is almost completed.— Eric J. LymanAustraliaThe 2009 Aussie TV year hasbeen marked by record-breakingaudiences for new franchises onbroadcast TV, some equally spectacularfailures and the successfullaunch of niche digital terrestrialmultichannels. Paynet Foxtel is setto follow suit in October with thelaunch of 30 pay TV channels andbroadband TVservices.Shine’s “MasterchefAustralia,”made here by FremantleMediafor youth-skewing Network Ten,has been the breakout hit of theyear, tallying a record 4 millionviewers for the finale and an average1.5 million capital city viewerseach weeknight. A second serieshas been commissioned for 2010,while the spinoff “Celebrity Masterchef”is being prepped for a yearendrun on Ten.— Pip BulbeckJapanMajor consolidation among regional netsin Japan — most are subsidiaries of nationalbroadcasters — looks inevitable with digitalswitch costs proportionallyhigher. There is eventalk that of the fivenational commercialnetworks — Fuji TV, TBS, NTV, TV Asahi andTV Tokyo — only three may survive the advertisingslowdown and digital switch.On the programming front, there are moregame shows, quiz programs and, to a lesserextent, news broadcasts, than ever. Althoughnetworks are loath to admit this is strictlycost-driven, with all the red ink on this year’sbalance sheets, cheaper programming isundoubtedly attractive.— Gavin J. BlairHong Kong“American Idol”-style singing contestshave become all the rage, withcompeting shows broadcasting fromboth local terrestrialchannels. Althoughfar from being theratings smashestheir Americancounterpart have been, “The Voice,”from dominating Television Broadcasts,and “Asian Millionstar,” fromperennial underdog Asia Television,proved attractive to viewers on Sundayprimetime. “The Voice” gets 1.7million viewers on average, whereas“Asian Millionstar,” which has beengenerating better word-of-mouth,grabs 510,000 viewers. The directcompetitors occupy the same timeslot on Sundays and premiered onthe same night, July 19.— Karen Chu09.30.09 THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 37

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