According to Ampere Analysis, France, Spain, Germany, the U.K. and Italy recorded “unprecedented spikes” in commissioning throughout June and July 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns eased in Europe.
The increase in commissioning was primarily led by broadcasters looking to fill their depleted broadcast schedules, the report said. The hike also coincided with seasonal highs in commissioning for territories such as France and Italy; months where linear providers in those countries have typically commissioned titles for the year ahead.
While increases in scripted commissions generally returned to normal levels, the volume of unscripted commissions increased significantly throughout Europe. Broadcasters have favored unscripted shows as they typically have shorter production periods, enabling them to bring new shows to screens faster.
In France and Spain, the commissioning spikes occurred in late June and early July, coinciding with the traditional commissioning season. Spanish commissions increased from 22 to 48 in June 2020, with increases in new documentary and entertainment shows. In France, the increases were spread over June and July, with 144 titles commissioned over those two months, from 94 in the previous year. French commissioners also focused on documentary and entertainment shows.
Increases in Germany and the U.K. were less marked over those two months. The U.K. recorded increases in documentary and entertainment shows like elsewhere, while German commissioners also boosted the number of reality shows as social distancing measures eased.
In Italy, broadcasters have historically favored unscripted shows with shorter production periods, a factor that resulted in a rapid depletion of schedules through the lockdown. In July 2020, as the country opened up, the number of new first-run TV show commissions in Italy more than doubled. Italian broadcasters commissioned 73 new titles in July 2020, compared to 35 in the same period in 2019. A key aspect of this commissioning was the increase of reality and entertainment genres. Reality commissions increased to 18 compared to 5 in July 2019, and entertainment commissions increased from 10 to 26.