Report Charts Value of Imported Movies for European Broadcasters


LONDON: A new report has found that imported feature films generated $4 billion for European broadcasters in 2011, with 18,600 titles broadcast across 119 channels in 21 countries, accounting for 96,861 hours screened.

The new report from Essential Television Statistics, Madigan Cluff and Digital TV Research looks at the value of imported movies on mostly terrestrial channels in 20-plus European markets. It found that the value generated from films has stayed rather stable over the last few years, despite the recession and the emergence of new players in the landscape. The value per hour of an imported feature last year was $44,577.

By country, the greatest value was generated in Germany, with just over $1 billion, followed by $711 million from Italy, $507 million from the U.K. and $326 million from France. By hours screened, Germany also comes out on top, with 9,862, followed by the U.K. (8,495) and Russia (8,149). Other markets that devoted considerable hours to imported feature films were Poland, Romania, Italy and Greece. "France and the Netherlands are notable absentees from the list of top countries," said Jonathan Bailey, the co-author and managing director at ETS.

Michael Cluff, the co-author and director at Madigan Cluff, commented, "There is a big variation in the value generated between major markets. German channels contributed nearly a quarter of the total value in 2011, followed by Italy and the U.K. Together these three countries accounted for 52 percent of the total. A great deal of the difference in performance between countries is the regularity of slotting major films. For instance, Germany’s Pro7 had 303 hours and Sat 1 had 281 hours of films in prime time in 2011, which generated 176 million euros. In contrast, France’s TF1 had just 67 hours of imported films in prime time and M6 [had] 52 hours, creating a total value of 52 million euros."

Bailey noted the importance of franchises to European broadcasters. "From the top 20 movie titles in 2011, 14 were part of a trilogy (or greater). The top 20 includes three from Pirates of the Caribbean, four Indiana Jones and three from the Harry Potter series."

For the 119 channels covered in the report, the daily average for the broadcast of imported features was 2.2 hours. Germany’s ProSieben screened the most, with 2,319 hours last year, averaging out to 6.4 hours a day. "Perhaps just as interesting as the channels that screen a lot of imported movies are those that rarely air films," Bailey added. "Many of the 25 channels that screened an average of less than an hour a day in 2011 are public broadcasters."

In terms of value creation by distributor, Warner Bros. is well ahead of the pack with $769.4 million, followed by NBCUniversal with $491.5 million, Fox with $472 million, Paramount with $471.9 million, Sony with $467.3 million and Disney with $399.6 million. The six studios together account for 71 percent of the revenues generated by imported feature films and 66 percent of hours screened.