Our latest in-demand data in association with Parrot Analytics – a special on factual programmes in France ahead of TVFI’s Le Rendez Vous French screenings next month – throws up a startling discovery: not one locally-produced documentary makes it into the top ten most in-demand series in the European territory.
In fact, French viewers are seemingly addicted to true crime programming, a trend that has been sweeping many international television markets. Netflix’s genre-redefining Making a Murderer leads the pack.
This is probably due to one of its subjects, Brendan Dassey, having his conviction overturned recently. The international headlines that generated, added to confirmation of a second season in July, have propelled the ten-part series to the top.
The series, filmed over ten years, centres on Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault before being released and subsequently incarcerated again for the murder of a local photographer.
Just behind Making a Murderer is Air Crash Investigation (aka Mayday), which Cineflix Media has been successfully producing for National Geographic Channel and distributing internationally for years. Air Crash Investigation and third-placed Wheeler Dealers both have about 12% less demand that Making a Murderer, with 144,078 and 142,204 average daily demand expressions recorded, respectively.
Their appearance near the top, and Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters in fourth with about 75% of Making a Murderer’s demand expressions, highlight how keen French audiences are on US-produced factual programming.
That Highway Thru Hell and Ancient Aliens are fifth and sixth in our chart also points to a liking for reality TV programming, something unlikely to please the country’s numerous blue-chip factual producers.
In seventh-place is long-running American crime factual series Cops, followed by a pair of drama-documentary-meet-history series, The American West and Barbarians Rising. The American West debuted on AMC in the US in June and as such has created 20% more daily demand expressions than the upcoming Barbarians.
Coming in tenth place is big-budget National Geographic Channel series Cosmos: A Space Odyssey, which first ran on linear TV more than two years ago.
*Source and methodology: Parrot Analytics assesses demand for popular shows through various ‘demand expression platforms’ including social-media and photo-sharing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, blogging and microblogging platforms such as Tumblr, wikis and informational sites, peer-to-peer protocols and file-sharing platforms. Parrot’s artificial-intelligence systems assess billions of data points to reach the overall demand rating