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Berlinale 2023 - EFM

Dossier industrie: Séries

À Berlinale Series Market, Guy Bisson d'Ampere Analysis présente un parcours de l’état actuel de la production et de la consommation de séries


BERLINALE 2023 : L’analyste britannique s’est penché en particulier sur la prolifération des modèles commerciaux hybrides, les genres qui montent et les glissements géographiques du marché

À Berlinale Series Market, Guy Bisson d'Ampere Analysis présente un parcours de l’état actuel de la production et de la consommation de séries
Guy Bisson (© Juliane Eirich)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

This year’s Berlinale Series Market kicked off on 20 February with the opening words of the European Film Market’s Director, Dennis Ruh, who stressed on the excitement of being “finally back in person” and gave the floor to Guy Bisson, of Ampere Analysis. The event was held at the Event Hall of the Berlin’s Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation.

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In his presentation, titled “Adapting to the New Market Reality,” Bisson provided an overview of the current state of script commissioning, including “what’s hot and what’s not.”

Power in commissioning is shifting, but probably not as fast as expected, explained first the British analyst. Streamers now account for one in four new first run commission globally compared to around half for free pubcasters and commercial linear TV channels, with “AVOD [being] very small at the moment, but growing rapidly.”

“Looking at the overall activity over the last few years, however, there is a definite sign of a slowdown,” he continued, showing that scripted commission activity decreased by 15% on the same quarter a year earlier (2021), and 2% down on the height of the COVID lockdown.

“Global content spend is not only slowing, but it will decline slightly this year,” he said, adding that this trend will particularly affect North America and Western Europe, with the global outlook remaining still slightly positive.

More importantly, however, a lockdown trend “stuck around,” as unscripted commissioning now basically matches scripted. In Q4 2019, global unscripted commissions accounted for 32%, growing to 52% in Q4 2022.

Moreover, “market maturity and competition in streaming” have also shifted several business dynamics, of which the most notable one sees “new customers hard to come by” as “even great, expensive content can’t acquire customers that aren’t there,” thus forcing players to switch from a “customer acquisition” strategy to a “customer retention” one.

Speaking of online video advertising, Bisson pointed out how it has “shifted economic impetus” and 2020 has been “more than just an inflection year and kicked off exponential growth” in Western Europe. This has determined a shift in the global landscape over the last three years. In 2020, we could see “a good spread of business models,” including “premium subscription services, a handful of free services and few other studios adopting mixed, hybrid models.”

Today, “everyone has converged on the centre,” thus becoming hybrid – except Apple which still works on a pure subscription-based model – along with “hundreds of FAST channels.”

Predictably, the “near universal adoption” of ad-supported models has had a broad impact on content production and distribution, affecting demand, commissioning, the competitive environment for traditional broadcasters, the opportunities for direct monetisation and the reinvigoration of the international licensing and syndication model.

Zooming in on the streamers’ commissioning trends, Bisson showed a graph indicating that there has been a 33% growth in the volume of commissioning activity from H2 2019 to H2 2022, mostly driven by documentaries and reality shows. A second graph showed a clear geographical shift to the East, in particular with huge growth prospect for India, China, Japan and South Korea.

Meanwhile, linear commissioning activity is still focused on Western markets where the major pubcasters’ powerhouses are based. In terms of content, these have maintained a “bedrock of crime,” shifting away from sci-fi and fantasy drama while doubling down on romance and light entertainment. Looking at the December 2022 streaming consumption trends, it sees “a mix of fantasy, dark comedy and period drama” winning the hearts of most viewers, with Wednesday, Dark and The White Lotus being the top performing titles in Italy, Germany and the UK, respectively.

Bisson’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion moderated by trade journalist Jesse Whittock with the participation of ZDF’s Robert Franke, ITV StudiosRuth Berry, CBO’s Rodolphe Buet and Universal International Studios & UCP’s Beatrice Springborn.

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