Chernobyl and The Feed among dramas driving UK TV exports to Europe

For British television and film, Europe is the second biggest market after the US – with Chernobyl, His Dark Materials and The Feed featuring among popular recent UK shows on the continent.

Chernobyl, the Emmy award-winning historical drama, was a Sky Studios production bought by OCS City for a French audience, Sky Atlantic for the Germans and Italians and HBO for the Poles, Spaniards and Swedes.

The Feed, a 10-episode science fiction drama based on Nick Clark Windo’s book of the same name about futuristic brain implants gone wrong, was snapped up by the StarzPlay network for the French, Germans, Italians and Spanish.

Other must-watch British TV in Europe includes the BBC Studios productions His Dark Materials, based on Philip Pullman’s novel series of the same name, and Dracula, the drama-horror television miniseries produced by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Scripted drama accounted for 48% of all revenue from the total £1.48bn earned from selling British TV rights internationally between April 2019 and March 2020, up 6% year on year. Total exports to Europe were up 4% year on year to £490m in 2019/20.

When it comes to factual programming, The Great British Bake Off is the big earner, finding audiences across Europe.

The French version, Le Meilleur Pâtissier, or “The Best Baker”, aired at 9pm on a Wednesday evening with an average audience last year of 3 million people an episode. This year, a 10th series will be aired in Sweden (TV4) and Denmark (DR). The finale of the last season of Den Store Bagedyst, “The Great Baking Contest”, in Denmark received a 71.8% share of the television audience.

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The Europeans most hungry for UK content are found in France (£102m of sales), the Nordics (£77m), Germany (£75m), Italy (£40m), the Netherlands (£19m), Spain (£18m), Belgium (£15m) and Poland (£11m).

Video-on-demand platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon, are the biggest buyers, accounting for 38% of all international sales of UK content in 2019/2020, followed by free TV (32%) and pay TV (29%). But the UK also has a rich archive of material which is enjoyed in Europe, such as Monty Python, Midsomer Murders, MasterChef, Mr Bean, The Crown and Downton Abbey.


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