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CBS named the top distributor in Europe

CBS was the most prolific programme seller in European territories last year. The distribution division of CBS, CBS Studios International, sold 4,861 hours of primetime drama to European buyers last year, beating Warner Bros into second place with its 3,891 hours.

The findings are from new research from ETS, Madigan Cluff and Digital TV Research. Their Imported Drama Series in Europe report shows that behind CBS and Warner Bros. was Disney, which shopped 3,327 primetime hours. NBC was ranked fourth with 2,901 hours and Fox fifth with 2,408 hours. Sony and MGM were the last of the majors, selling 757 and 191 hours respectively.

The only non-US distributor on the list was BBC Worldwide, which was seventh, shopping 748 primetime hours to European broadcasters.

Jonathan Bailey, co-author and managing director at Essential Television Statistics, said: “The number of hours screened by each major distributor is driven by a small number of highly successful programmes – 2011 saw very strong usage of CSI and NCIS in primetime widely across Europe.”

He added: “Although key shows continue to make up a significant proportion of the primetime output of major European channels, 81% of imported drama hours were transmitted outside primetime, with particular emphasis of the post prime dayparts.”

Across all dayparts CBS was again the lead seller, shopping a cumulative 21,137 hours. Fox was again second, but NBC beat Disney into third in the all-day list. Again, BBC Worldwide was the only non-US company and sandwiched between Sony and MGM.