Television Industry Takes Stock As Berlinale Series Market Sessions Kick Off

Television Industry Takes Stock As Berlinale Series Market Sessions Kick Off

With the indie film business in buoyant mood here in Berlin, it’s the TV industry’s turn to take stock today and tomorrow, and it’s safe to say the drama crowd are navigating some choppy waters.

Analysts, producers and distributors broke down the state of play for the scripted TV business on the Deadline-hosted European Film Market podcast, entitled Post-Peak Perspectives: Finding New Opportunities in the Series Landscape.

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“The streamers are leading the downward march,” said Guy Bisson, executive director at Ampere Analysis, of the falloff in drama commissioning.

Ampere identified the commissioning slowdown in early 2023 and Bisson said the downturn was international. “It’s not specific to any region, although the U.S. is particularly impacted, but then we do have that secondary effect of the strikes and a tertiary effect of the internationalization of streaming content, so the U.S. is no longer the be all and end all of entertainment production,” said Bisson.

Drama is, however, still getting commissioned, and crime remains in demand – but of the cosier kind. “It’s a different type of crime,” said Marina Williams, CEO of pan-European production and distribution outfit Asacha Media, which counts long-running series Death In Paradise as one of its titles. “Distributors and commissioners are not looking so much for very dark noir. They’re actually looking for soft crime, or ‘cosy crime.’ People like to solve the criminal cases, but at the same time, they can relax in front of the TV, it’s not too tense.”

Richard O’Meara, Head of Drama and Insight at analysts K7 agreed that crime drama remains in demand and said that his research shows producers are experimenting. “People are looking for a way to stand out and be a bit different, so we’ve got diverse protagonists… or crime with a family element or crime with a supernatural element,” he said.

The industry podcast – check it out in full here – landed before the Berlinale Series Market sessions got underway.  The opening session will take in drama trends and how the business can evolve in the post-peak TV era. It will also ask where the opportunity lies in a tough market and whether there are silver linings.

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