CBS series dominate European drama imports

NCISCBS supplied the top three most-valuable drama imports to European broadcasters last year, with procedural NCIS leading the way by generating more than US$205 million, according to a new report.

Following NCIS, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation came second with US$188 million and CSI: Miami with US$168.4 million, figures from Essential Television Statistics, Madigan Cluff and Digital TV Research’s Top 100 Imported Drama Titles in Europe report showed.

The top ten was rounded out by Disney’s Criminal Minds (US$161.8 million); CBS’s CSI: NY (US$124.6 million); Fox’s How I Met Your Mother (US$122.2 million); Warner Bros’ The Mentalist (US$122 million) and The Big Band Theory (US$117.2 million); NBCUniversal’s House, M.D. (US$101.9 million); and Global Screen’s Sturm der Liebe (US$93.2 million).

However, a separate Digital TV Research, ETS and Madigan Cluff report last month revealed the cumulative value of European drama imports had crashed by more than US$1 billion in the four-year period between 2008-2012.

Michael Cluff, co-author of today’s report, said: “Although the revenues delivered by imported drama [covering 1,677 titles] fell significantly in 2012 compared to 2011, the revenues of the top twenty titles rose by 7.5% to US$2.2 billion. With overall revenues to free-to-air channels falling, this suggests that the major dramas have pulled their weight, driving advertising and other revenue to prime slots on the major channels.”

Significantly, only 23% of hours screen in the top 100 imported titles broadcast in primetime (17,076 hours of a total of 75,349), the authors noted. This suggests broadcasters are looking to local productions and formats to bring in peaktime eyeballs, though imported primetime dramas still contributed an improved 63% of all revenues accounted for in the report.

The US studios dominated overall distribution, with CBS Studios International the clear market leader with a combined revenue generation of US$926 million and Disney Media Distribution trailing behind in second place with US$667 million. However, Germany-based Global Screen, which came in sixth place with US$178 million, comfortably beat Sony Pictures Television, which made US$110 million.

Global Screen was one of four European vendors in the top ten, along with compatriot ZDF Enterprises and UK-based ITV Studios Global Entertainment and All3Media International. The latter took eight place on the back of just one show, Midsomer Murders.

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