French TV sales broke an all-time record of €214.8 million ($230 million) in 2022, a 15.4% year-on rise, bolstered by premium TV series such as Newen’s procedural “HPI,” Federation’s spy series “The Bureau” and Banijay’s period show “Marie Antoinette,” according to a study unveiled by the National Film Board and promotion org Unifrance.
The French org credited the spike in French TV exports to the end of the pandemic and the delivery of fresh content, as well as the return of in-person markets and business travel.
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French linear channels still remain the main buyers of local TV content, accounting for 49% of sales, on par with 2021. But deals with streamers have played an increasingly significant role in recent years and represented 43% of all TV sales in 2022, compared with 33.5% in 2021 and 4.6% in 2013. As such, the U.S. was the leading export territory for French TV programs last year, partly thanks to U.S. remake deals for Eric Rochant’s spy thriller “The Bureau” (pictured) to Showtime and “HPI” (“High Potential”) to ABC. Drew Goddard is developing a pilot for ABC based on the French series “HPI.”
The news comes less than a week after it was reported that ABC Signature had acquired the English language adaptation rights to the series, while George Clooney has boarded the remake of “The Bureau,” titled “The Department,” as co-producer and director.
French fiction was the best-selling genre in 2022 with a record-breaking €80.7 million ($86.5 million) in sales, a 40% year-on rise. Animation sales, meanwhile, were down by 5.3% to €57 million ($61.13 million).
Unifrance pointed to a “decline in animation sales for the second year running” but a growing popularity of preschool titles.
With streamers buying more and more content, global rights’ deals accounted for 46.5% of all pacts for fiction, followed by animation and documentary.
On the downside, international pre-sales dropped by half to €50 million ($53 million) in 2021 and was 17% down compared with the last 10-year average. International co-production investments were also down by 38.4% to €54.4 million ($58.3 million). Unifrance is anticipating a slowdown in business to North America, especially with streamers.
“There is a rationalization of investments by streamers, which are turning less and less to the acquisition of worldwide rights, with effects that could be felt in 2023,” said the promotion org, which added that sales to streaming services have also become more complicated because TV channels have been “systematically demanding non-linear rights on content.”
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