Documentaries on politics, royalty, sport on the rise
The annual Mipcom television market kicked off its first physical event in two years in Cannes on Monday. The opening session was presented by Avril Blondelot, Content Manager at Glance. She sat down with Variety to discuss the session “Global TV trends: who watches what, how and why”, presented with Frédéric Vaulpré, vice-president of Glance.
Swedish kings involved in scandalous love affairs with men, Greta Thunberg, dancing avatars, song contests with twists and turns, a show interviewing deceased celebrities, and spectacular high-tech Japanese productions were among the new global projects. presented by Blondelot and Vaulpré to help bring new ideas to light.
Their findings are based on research spanning 550 channels and platforms in 48 markets.
According to Blondelot, 6,650 new original series were launched during the 2020/21 season, an increase of 4% over one year.
“Original documentaries have increased the most over the past five years, followed by dramas and comedies. The Docu series launched last year are one of the axes of our presentation, ”says Blondelot.
The BBC is a consistent bestseller as interest in politics and royalty is on the rise, she says.
“Any titles that perform well in all markets are mostly titles from BBC Studios. Natural history is selling well. Last year, the docuses commenting on political figures were quite strong. The American elections have generated a lot of interest. A paper on Putin sold well and “Greta Thunberg – A Year to Save the World” by Greta Thunberg is among the list of titles that have sold well. She is young but arouses interest in all countries.
Another trend, she says, is a “clearer link between drama and documentaries.”
There is interest in racial-focused programming (think the four-part series “Enslaved,” starring Samuel Jackson for BBC Two), while sports are also gaining popularity in documentaries.
“Sports-oriented docs were more numerous last year. It was an Olympic year. Netflix is also interested in it. Human stories help focus on sports, ”she says.
Examples include “Tough Out,” a Chinese documentary on helping abandoned children through baseball. “Freddie’s First Eleven” is an upcoming BBC series on teaching cricket to underprivileged children with Freddie Flintoff highlighting it.
ITV2’s “The Social Media Murders,” which delves into a true story of murder on social media, highlights an increased link between the docus and drama, she said.
“It was based on actual videos posted on social media. It’s rare. There are exciting new ways to grab the attention of young viewers. It’s good to remind children to be careful.
Channel 5’s “The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews” is an example where the same story is explored across different genres, which is another rising trend. The docu “Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight” is another. “There will be a fictional version,” she said. “In recent years, there has been an increased interest in factual drama. ”
She adds: “There is a certain convergence between the two genres. We also see it in royalty. We are also seeing more dramas hitting the market with recent past royal history. ”
Some shows involve time differences. “There is a Swedish series about an actress that used to come out. She receives advice from a historian and a psychologist. It’s fun to watch. And there is an element of dating that is specific, ”she notes.
Perhaps the most bizarre of the new concepts, however, is a new French series “L’Hôtel du Temps”, in which presenter Thierry Ardisson interviews deceased celebrities, including Princess Diana and François Mitterrand, for France 3.