Entertainment shows still capture big audiences regardless of the country, according to the latest edition of Mediametrie’s Entertainment TV Report which examined these programmes in 11 countries.
On average, TV channels devoted 1/3 of their prime time schedules to entertainment formats in 2018.
“During prime time, entertainment shows helped boost audience figures for ¾ of the major channels studied, and increased the audience share by 24% compared to the average for the slot. These results prove that entertainment is still a vital genre for this time slot,” noted Candice Alessandra, International Research Manager at EurodataTV Worldwide.
Although the countries in the study devoted a significant part of their prime-time schedules to entertainment, there were some disparities between them. Not all countries broadcast the same number of entertainment shows: Japan and the United States were the front runners, dedicating 58% and 53% respectively of total prime time on main channels to entertainment programming. France and Germany brought up the rear with 22% and 17%. In some countries, private channels are the home of prime time entertainment, especially Japan (65%). In other countries, the main public channels make a massive contribution to the entertainment schedules, for example in the UK.
The countries with the highest number of successful entertainment show exports are: the UK, the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium. Programmes include: Got Talent (USA), Strictly Come Dancing (UK), The Farmer Wants a Wife (UK), and Survivor (Sweden), which were all ranked among the top shows in at least five of the 11 countries studied.
In terms of entertainment genres, factual entertainment is the most widely broadcast, just ahead of reality competitions and variety shows; game shows follow a little further. On the other hand, regarding consumption, reality competitions come first, quite widely ahead of factual entertainment and variety shows.
2018 was an excellent year for entertainment formats, with double the number of launches seen in 2017 (17 additional launches). The majority of these newcomers were original programmes (19 out of 31), and the UK performed particularly well, with four original new programmes ranked in its Top 15 prime time entertainment ratings: The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, The Generation Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip. However, these are mainly reboots or spin-offs.
Entertainment adaptations made inroads in 2018, accounting for 1/3 of new launches. They included: Ninja Warrior, adapted for the first time in Israel and The Legacy, Grandpas Over Flowers, a South Korean format that was successfully adapted in the Netherlands.
2018 also signalled a rise in popularity for reality competitions, with 14 new launches. Within this category, talent shows dominated (8 out of these 14 launches), including: The Voice, The Great Bake Off, Got Talent and Sewing Bee.
Some entertainment formats stood out. They included: Showdown (Israel), Ich WeiB Alles (Germany) and L’Aventure Robinson (France), which were all genuine new programming as none of them were based on a pre-existing concept.
There were also some enduring “old” favourites: The Generation Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Brain returned to screens in the UK and Italy after more than 5 years away in some cases.
Lastly, spin-offs remained a safe bet for channels. For example, in the United States, Love & Hip Hop: Miami was the fourth installment in that franchise and went straight to the top of the national charts. In the Netherlands, The Voice Senior enjoyed similar success, scoring 6th place in 2018.
Another way to relaunch a show is to create a VIP version. This was clearly understood in Italy and the United States where VIP versions of Temptation Island and Big Brother have launched. Both programmes entered the Top 15 charts in their respective countries.
How did viewers watch entertainment formats in 2018? Although the TV set remained the screen of choice, the habit of watching on internet screens has also gradually set in.
Among the internet screens, the computer is still the screen of choice for watching these shows: French audiences spent 41% of total internet screen viewing time for prime time entertainment watching on a computer, for the Dutch audience it was 47% and for the British audience: 38%. However, the importance of “small screens” such as tablets and smartphones should not be underestimated.
In France, the proportion of viewers using an Internet screen is higher for entertainment than for other types of programmes. This trend is supported by a few flagship programmes such as Les Marseillais Australia, Les Marseillais vs. Le Reste du Monde or even Les Princes Et les Princesses De L’Amour.
In the United Kingdom, consumption on internet screens is less related to the types of programmes than to their performance on TV screens: success on TV often means good performance on Internet screens. This is the case of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, which was broadcast in prime time and was the most successful entertainment format on Internet screens in 2018