International spending on French television soared 38.8% last year to €678m, with a huge rise in studios that benefited from the nation’s tax rebate, according to the annual export report from French television from Unifrance presented at the agency’s Biarritz Rendez-Vous this afternoon.
Investment in projects that used the Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP) more than doubled to €302.7 million (the euro and the dollar are practically the same today), while sales and pre-financing of French shows increased by 6% to 375.9 euros. METER. In past years, the latter figure has tended to be much higher than the TRIP figure.
The record figures reflected a year in which things began to return to normal following the damage inflicted by the Covid pandemic, while also showing that the French television creative community was in good health.
Foreign pre-sales of French content crossed the €100 million mark for the first time, another record, while drama pre-sales rose sharply to €45.5 million and the foreign contribution to co-productions reached an all-time high in two decades.
The likes of TF1/RTS 1 High Intellectual Potential and Canal+ Paris Police 1900 were marked as success stories.
“The figures show that French production is attractive to all genres and we can be proud of it,” said Emmanuelle Jouanole, president of SEDPA, the union of French television distribution companies.
Delivering the figures at a news conference in the last hour, Jouanole said they are testament to major changes in buyer activity, with more broadcasters taking the rights to shows around the world.
“These platforms really bring this market to life,” he added. “Moving rights around the world has a huge international reach and tends to have a strong impact on distribution. We are working more and more upstream, which is good for producers and distributors.”
And the decision by major US studios to return content to their own platforms provided a new opportunity for French distributors to sell French shows abroad, according to Unifrance Audiovisual Director Sarah Hemar. “Buyers are seeing that what works well in France works abroad,” she added.
About 1.5% of the shows in the streamer’s back catalogs were French in 2021, according to the report.
Pure French TV program sales fell slightly from a year earlier to €186.1m and this was mainly attributed to a worrying decline in documentary sales, which fell 20% to €36.8m, a drop that Unifrance attributed to “exports hitting particularly hard.” due to delivery delays due to the pandemic and post-production bottlenecks.”
“Some productions couldn’t be filmed for two years,” Jouanelle said. “If you don’t have any new documentaries, this can only be marginally offset by sales of older shows. But I am confident that things will get better.”
After five years at high levels, animation exports also fell by 18.5% to 60.8 million euros.
Geographically, North America was France’s second largest market with €23.3 million spent, still far behind Western and Central Europe with €80.6 million.
Hemar also pointed to subtle changes, such as spending in the Middle East rising 13% and Chinese spending at its lowest level in six years.
“We have not been active in China for three years,” he added. “The situation with its climate does not look good for the future.”