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Netflix effect narrows premiere dates

The effect of Netflix is narrowing the gap between US and international premieres of series, a new study has revealed.

Netflix recently premiered the second season of its original drama House of Cards, with all 13 episodes available simultaneously in the US, Latin America, UK and Ireland, the Nordics and the Netherlands.

This distribution model is impacting the way linear broadcasters distribute their shows internationally, according to a report from IHS TV Programming Intelligence.

The gap between US and UK TV premieres is now 95 days, and 84 days from the US to international markets in general. However broadcasters, unlike the SVoD platform, want to wait and see how successful a new show is in the US before committing to schedule it.

Tim Westcott, principal TV analyst at IHS Technology, said: “Thanks to social media, the buzz surrounding new TV series goes global very quickly – and some consumers are going to be too impatient to wait for these programmes to be available in their country via traditional channels.

“Many distributors are trying to make their new series available more quickly, even investing in foreign language dubs which are usually paid for by the buyers. Platforms like Foxtel in Australia and Orange Cinema Series are showing US series the day after they premiere in the US.”

However, the research revealed that this sort of approach is still an exception rather than a rule, and fast-tracking did have its drawbacks when a show bombed in the US.

The study also showed that of the 54 new scripted TV drama and comedy series aired by US broadcast and cable networks in 2013, 14 remain unsold in any of the key territories of Australia, France, Germany and the UK.

Broadcasters in UK acquired the largest volume of these series (35), and the average gap between US and UK TV premieres was 95 days.

The average gap in Australia was much lower at 32 days, but fewer TV series were sold (24).

In France and Germany, where foreign TV series are usually dubbed, fewer new series were sold: nine in France and 15 in Germany. And the average gap was much longer at 129 days in France and 116 days in Germany.

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