In a comprehensive producer study, the current economic situation of film and television producers in Germany is scrutinized -- it´s all about turnover, costs, budgets, jobs, the clients, funding quotas, distribution of rights and much more. Another topic is how the industry is influenced by the ever-growing VoD market.
Both key data and trends can be found in the study. About 900 companies make up the classic production market, of which about two thirds are TV producers and about one third cinema producers. A further 1,300 companies are distributed among advertising, image and industrial film producers, EB team companies and service provider producers. Together, they generated total net sales (without subsidies) of around EUR 4.9 billion with audiovisual productions in 2017, which represents an increase of almost 10% since 2010. The market segment is judged to be stable, but without any major growth momentum, although there are also major differences between the genres produced. Turnover with docu-soaps, for example, has risen by more than a third, and in general the growth dynamics in the TV production sector were stronger than in the stagnating German theatrical film production market.
After all, the profit situation of the German production companies is expected to have improved. According to the study, the share of companies with a negative and precarious return on sales decreased, while the share of companies with a return on sales between 5 % and 10 % increased. However, market concentration has also risen slightly, as the share of the top 25 companies in the sales market has risen slightly since 2010 from 49 % to 55 % (2016). The cinema and TV production companies employ a total of around 37,000 people, of whom around a quarter are freelancers -- the proportion of self-employed people in the cinema production sector is said to be higher.
As far as output is concerned, the volume of cinema film production in Germany is rising continuously, with the number of documentaries growing particularly strongly -- it has even more than doubled in the last ten years. There are more cinema releases overall, but the number of audiences is declining. Accordingly, it becomes harder for a film to win enough viewers. In the television sector, the output of TV programmes produced in Germany has risen from 800,000 (2011) to almost 900,000 minutes (2017) (commissioned productions). At the same time, TV programme costs per minute have risen since 2011 for fiction formats - TV movies and series (excluding daily soaps) - and fallen for non-fiction formats - TV entertainment and reports/magazines/documentaries. According to the study, the large differences between productions and companies indicate strong competition and continued pressure to be efficient. Anyone who finances themselves with television jobs can probably sing a song about this. By the way, as far as rights and licensing are concerned, the buy-out in the TV sector is still the normal case, but compared to 2011 it is on the retreat. More frequently than in 2012, producers are to receive revenue claims from the commercial exploitation of their productions.
Not uninteresting are the figures from the video-on-demand sector - and the conclusions drawn from them. In 2017, around EUR 150 million went to German production companies for sales of such "Netflix&co" productions. A further significant increase in this sales volume is expected for 2018, which should increase the corresponding demand for "top performers" in the area of high-quality fiction production. This, in turn, will drive up prices, e.g. for scriptwriters, which means a prospect of more attractive fees. However, 150 million is still a drop in the ocean in terms of the industry's total turnover. Since younger viewers in particular are increasingly turning away from traditional television in favour of online video services, there will certainly be further shifts in budgets; it remains to be seen what levels can be reached.
Those who are (or want to become) active in the industry and are interested in more details can purchase the producer study in a book edition or browse through a free PDF. The Producer Study 2018 was carried out by the Research and Competence Centre Audiovisual Production (FoKo) of the Hamburg Media School (HMS) in cooperation with Goldmedia and with the financial participation of the federal and state film funding institutions.