TV Outside of the U.S.

by Marcus Belmore


The past few months have been a time of great action and change in the International Television business. Countries on almost all continents have been busy expanding their markets and sharing programming with one another. As the title “T.V. Outside the U.S” suggests, it is an incredibly broad and expansive topic. It follows, therefore, that this Wiki cannot be taken as a comprehensive, exhaustive compilation of each international-television related business interaction. That having been said, however, this Wiki does well in covering the major players and events in the international television industry from the time of October to December 2011. Each respective region of the world has been given its own section that features the events most important to that region.



The general population of Europe has seen higher prices for ad sales, marking a positive third quarter for the European television industry.1

The European Court of Justice ruled that Internet Service Providers cannot legally be forced to monitor the activity of their users to prevent illegal downloading of content. While this doesn’t have to do directly with television, it may have an impact on the ways in which programmers choose to manage their online content.2

Also, the European Commission has promised a $283 million dollar financial guarantee that is meant to promote the growth of Europe’s cultural television and film. There is also talk that the guarantee will open up better access to bank loans for smaller European producers.3


The BBC struck a deal with Comcast that will distribute BBC’s news channel, BBC World News, to a greater number of viewers than ever before. The channel is already carried by Cablevision and Verizon. The deal more than doubles the channel’s current U.S. distribution, bringing it into almost 15 million U.S. homes by the end of 2012.4

The UK digital and broadband service BT Vision has seen a huge boost in subscribers thanks in part to now carrying U.S. programs as part of its on-demand service.5

Finally, several bids have been put in for the failing company Endemol, most notably from Time Warner and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset.6


Politics and television met when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stepped down from his position. Berlusconi is also a European media mogul, and his poor publicity in part led to a 31% drop in revenue over nine months for his media group Mediaset. 7,8,9


CNC, France’s government-run film and television agency, may have its revenue capped. The French Senate passed a bill that would allow CNC’s revenue stream to stop at $700 million, using the rest of the profits to help support the state budget.10

North America


The Canadian television has done well in the past year. Ad sales grew 9.2% from the previous year, boosting profits to around $3.34 billion dollars.11

The company eOne has also become a major distributor in Canada, picking up major home distribution labels from Vivendi.12



China has vowed to make entertainment one of its “pillar industries,” setting aside 5% of its GDP for the purpose of boosting television and film. This is nearly double the amount of money that it typically spends yearly on the entertainment industry.13

PBS signed a multi-year deal with Chinese Educational Television involving broadcast and distribution. The deal will give PBS programming a daily primetime slot on the channel CETV-3.14


These past few months have found Japan pushing for greater international expansion. It will soon hold the Tokyo TV Forum, at which representatives from several different countries will hear pitches for Japanese-made documentary style shows.15

The Japanese advertising conglomerate Hakuhodo DY Holdings has started a production company, Stories, that is looking to partner with Hollywood in effort to create American productions based on Japanese material.16

The Japanese government is also getting into the media, urging Japan’s major networks to develop cultural-based samurai dramas.17


The past three months have been big for Russia. It has introduced its first new media rules in 20 years. The new rules are geared towards guaranteeing media freedom, taking away much of the regulation that it had in the past. These new efforts were made in effort to boost its economy in the post-economic crisis world.18

The Russian company United Television Holding signed a $300 million dollar deal with the Walt Disney Company that will ultimately allow the Disney Channel to finally have a terrestrial spot in Russia, reaching nearly 40 million households.19


The Indian channel Veria Living has received a $250 million dollar investment from its parent company Zee. The company’s chairman has said that the extra investment is in effort to build a substantial United States viewership for the channel.20

Indian production companies have recently pitched and launched Indian spin-offs of American shows such as 24  and Whose Line is it Anyway?.21

Spain/Central America


The financial crisis has been tough on economies worldwide, and a production company in Spain is trying to boost its viewership by making a show whose main characters are working-class people trying to make ends meet. The company, Vertice 360, is hoping that viewers will empathize with characters in a similar situation to themselves.22

Spanish distributors, much like those in other markets, have been busy shopping around their cartoons internationally. The distributors have been focusing on getting their already established series, such as Pocoyo, into France and the United States in effort to strengthen their international brand.23



Kenya has been especially busy insofar as African television production is concerned. Kenyan producers are trying to take some of the steam away from Spanish and Mexican made telenovelas by using that same format to make distinctly African programming. The idea is to use a well-established and well-received format to tell stories that the people of Kenya can relate to and to draw viewers away from the Spanish shows.24

Kenya is another market that is putting a good deal of emphasis on cartoons, bringing in cartoon and puppet shows from Spain as well as looking internationally for animators to make original content.25

Middle East


In effort to help educate the country’s children, only 13% of whom are enrolled in kindergarten, Afghani local broadcasters will be airing a show designed by the Sesama Workshop. The show, which was partly the idea of the Afghanistan Ministry of Education, will help to bridge the education gap that exists in the country. 26