Drama series in nine markets; key success factors

Montréal, October 19, 2016 – The Canada Media Fund (CMF) announced today the publication of its most recent report, entitled National Fictions on the Small Screen. The report concerns a study on the local and international performance of drama series produced in nine small television markets.

The study was financed by the CMF in collaboration with the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) and the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec (SODEC). Prepared by Francis Gosselin and Frédéric Guarino of FG8, this study is intended to determine the winning conditions to produce, in a local market, quality series that display a strong national identity, in a language other than English, and to make them profitable on the international market.

The authors interviewed the principal stakeholders in the production sectors, including producers’ associations, support institutions, broadcasters and producers in each of the following markets: Austria, the two Belgian linguistic markets, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland.

The report presents detailed case studies of emblematic series in the countries explored, providing a path-breaking look at the conditions under which dramatic series are produced in these national markets.

Starting with seven hypotheses concerning the common characteristics of performing productions and production conditions, the authors set out to discover the recipes for success.

The data collected was used to classify the successful series using two different ecosystem models: the first model, designated as “public first”, includes a preponderantly public broadcaster, whereas the second, the “mixed model”, includes more private broadcasters.

The study draws several major conclusions. For example, the amounts invested in developing series promote domestic and international performance or it is difficult to determine if there is a significant difference between complete exportation (dubbing/subtitling) and exporting the concept.

The study also served to reveal how the success of drama series is organized for export. First, the results indicate that local success is often a prerequisite for export, without necessarily guaranteeing export success. Moreover, international promotion and distribution efforts for drama series produced in small markets are most often the result of a “soft power” policy. This cultural diplomacy, conducted by States and their promotion and financing organizations, focuses primarily on cultural objectives.

About the Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca.


For additional information, please contact:

André Ferreira
Communications Manager
416 554-2768
[email protected]