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TBI’s 2013 in review – part four

Breaking_BadTwenty-thirteen was in many ways a landmark year for television, with shows from across the globe and a spectrum of platforms achieving previously unheard of successes. In the fourth part of our yearly round-up, we unveil how TV did everything from influence baby naming trends to welcome fledgling on-demand players

 

BREAKING BAD BABIES: A new generation of cable shows spawn a new generation of baby names

A list of the most popular baby names in the UK illustrates the power of US cable series better than an XL ratings spreadsheet ever could. A nation that once would have followed the lead of its Royal Family is now more influenced by edgy US drama series. Accordingly, there was a sharp uptick in the number of newborns in the UK being named Skyler (Breaking Bad), Brody (Homeland) and Arya (Game of Thrones). Easing the fears of traditionalists, Downtown Abbey also spurred double digit increases in incidence of new Elsies, Roses and Violets.

2013 IN YOUR WORDS: Darrel James, COO, Off the Fence

Coproduction is a bit like sex: everybody thinks everybody else is at it, whilst in reality there is far less of it going on than we all think and when it does happen, it is often between the strangest of people!

 

2013 IN YOUR WORDS: Nicky Davies Williams, CEO, DCD Rights

The significant growth of the Digital networks such as Hulu and Netflix in 2013 has offered us great opportunities throughout the year. The growth of scripted programming format and finished shows was also notable: nearly all our dramas have been snapped by major broadcasters. This was demonstrated this year by the success of our new Australian drama series such as A Moody Christmas and Mr & Mrs Murder, both due to air on UK and US networks and around the world

 

A VERY BRITISH PERIOD DRAMA, FROM AMERICA

Downton Abbey went from hit to a mega hit in 2013. The, ahem, upstairs downstairs period drama continued to win eyeball in numbers in the US, Australia and just about everywhere else; a very British story from a British channel then? Well, no. Its producer, Carnival Films, is owned by US media giant NBCUniversal, which sells it internationally with a huge degree of success and is using that momentum to push Carnival in LA.

downton abbeyOther period hits this year include Mr Selfridge. This time the story of an American running the eponymous department store, but produced in the UK by ITV. The ‘Special Relationship’ the pair shares has never been stronger.

But not all period dramas are created equal as Cineflix discovered this year. Having created a drama division its flagship scripted project, period cop drama Copper, failed to deliver and Pete Smith and Christina Wayne subsequently departed, the latter to work with Endemol Studios, the company’s US scripted unit, in the US.

And there was outrage at the BBC when it revealed it was getting rid of its latest costume drama hit, the Victorian-era set Ripper Street “to make room for creative renewal”, according to spokespeople (for which many have read “to stop the ratings kicking it has been taking from ITV’s suddenly-massive-again I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here). The BBC has since confirmed it is looking at ways to finance a new season, with Lovefilm said to be involved in innovative rights-sharing agreement for two more seasons.

2013 IN YOUR WORDS: Sam Barcroft, CEO Barcroft Productions

My key memory of the year was social media’s game-changing influence over TV. Watching Twitter light up like a Christmas tree for our premiere of Fat For Cash on Channel 5 really brought home the importance and influence of live comment and analysis

 

BIGGEST BREAK UP: DISNEY AND RTL GO THROUGH MESSY DIVORCE

Disney broke off its long term relationship with RTL in Germany this year and the partners don’t look to have split on the best of terms. Disney is setting up its own Disney Channel in the country and taking its programming with it, leaving Super RTL with a huge content hole to fill. It made a good start with an output deal with DreamWorks, but also slashed its workforce by about 15%. While keeping up appearances, it’s clear the former partners are determined to build better lives for themselves following the split. In July Super RTL CEO Claude Schmit wryly told TBI he wished Disney Channel “all the best for the launch and the race for second place” in the German free-TV market.

 

2013 IN YOUR WORDS: David Weiland, executive VP, Western Europe, BBC Worldwide

The standout moment for me this year was seeing a quintessentially British drama, that started 50 years ago, enjoy a record breaking celebration throughout the world on November 23rd. Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special episode that was broadcast simultaneously in 94 countries across 6 continents. A feat that took months of planning, Doctor Who earned the Guinness World Record for having the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama

ON-DEMAND UPSTART: WUAKI RACES INTO THE PICTURE

Netflix and Lovefilm dominated the news in 2013, both launching new originals and generally upping the ante in SVOD and the wider TV market. Meanwhile, Wuaki.TV stealthily launched in several territories and has ambitious plans to conquer Europe. What makes these plans all the more realistic is that it is backed by Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant that also owns Play.com. Could Wuaki come up on the rails and take Lovefilm, Netflix and others by surprise? It’s a good outside bet.

 

2013 IN YOUR WORDS: Sierra/Engine CEO Chris Philip

Significant new buyers from the digital space, an increase in volume of original quality programming and unique financial models resulted in a blast of opportunity for everyone