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Back European TV/SVOD fiction production: More high-end series produced – but with fewer episodes

Just ahead of Series Mania, the European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a new report on the production of European original TV and SVOD fiction.
Strasbourg 14 March 2023
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European TV/SVOD fiction production: More high-end series produced – but with fewer episodes

Download "Audiovisual fiction production in Europe - 2021 figures" 

This brand-new report: “Audiovisual fiction production in Europe - 2021 figures” has just been published by the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The report analyses the volume of TV/SVOD fiction films and series produced in Europe, and of European origin according to main acting roles, the main commissioners and producers, and the crews of screenwriters and directors involved in their creation.

  • Over 1 100 titles (1 title : 1 TV film or 1 series season)  22 000 episodes and 14 000 hours of fiction are produced each year in Europe, but the 2020/2021 COVID-19 crisis halted growth.

Volume of AV fiction produced in Europe (2015-2021)

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory analysis of The European Metadata Group data

  • Daily telenovelas/soaps account for the bulk (61%) of hours produced. 

With large volumes of telenovelas/soaps produced each year, Germany, Poland and Greece are the leaders in volume of hours produced. Hungary and Portugal are two other examples of countries driven by more-than-52-episode-per-season series.

  • More than half of all titles produced are 13-or-fewer-episodes-per-season series. 

13-or-fewer-episodes-per-seasons series kept on growing during the COVID crisis, but seasons have less and shorter episodes.

Less-than-13-episode-per-season series: average number of episodes per season and duration of episodes (2015-2021)


Source: European Audiovisual Observatory analysis of The European Metadata Group data

  • After a peak in 2018, fewer international co-productions. 

International co-productions account for 8% of all fiction titles and are mostly limited to TV films and to 2-to-3-episode-season series.  The majority of international co-productions used to be between two neighbouring countries sharing the same language (e.g. France and Belgium; Germany and Austria). But non-linguistic co-productions have gradually increased and represent close to 60% of all co-productions.

Breakdown of European co-productions by participating regions (total 2015-2021) 

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory analysis of The European Metadata Group data

Public broadcasters commissioned 55% of titles, private broadcasters for 59% of hours. In 2021, the BBC, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery were the three main commissioners of 13-or-fewer-episode-per-season series. 

Almost 1 400 production companies/groups produced at least one fiction title between 2015 and 2021, but only 6% of them produced at least one title in each of the last seven years. This significant turnover can be attributed to the intense renewal of TV series: on average, between 2015 and 2021, first seasons accounted for 51% of all seasons produced each year.

About 13 000 screenwriters and 7 000 directors were involved in the production of European original fiction between 2015 and 2021.

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