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A look back at distribution trends in 2020


Liam Costello Senior Manager

As 2020 draws to a close we look back over what has been a challenging year for the industry to show you some highlights in distribution trends.

Germany has been the most active Show Tracker market this year with 100 new US scripted series finding distribution. Most of these are older shows, with 33 originating from the 2018/19 US season. Pay TV remains the biggest buyer in Germany (53) with Sky Atlantic the leading destination (21).

Pay TV is not just the biggest buyer in Germany, but also 43% of all distribution deals outside of the US. SVOD accounts for 41% of all first window acquisitions in 2020, with Netflix/Amazon taking 15% of the total. Sweden is the most digital-first market with SVOD services premiering 78% of all new shows this year; Spain follows on 63%. HBO is the biggest buyer in each of these markets, showcasing titles not just from the WarnerMedia pipeline but a number of third-party acquisitions.

With production halted throughout much of 2020 there was an expectation of increased demand for premium drama to help fill holes left in the schedule. In the first quarter of the year there were more new US series launched in Show Tracker markets than at the same point in 2019, but thereafter new season premieres slowed and in some months dipped year-on-year. September did have more first window premieres (82) than in the previous year but this was not a sudden increase in older shows coming to the market - just 13 of these series predate the 2019/20 US season.

Along with Germany, the UK (+11) and France (+1) account for the year-on-year increase in new first window distributions.

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