How the modern series changed our vision of the small screen: episode 1

The "series" format, a social phenomenon.

From “dinner and a movie” to “Netflix and chill”

Over the last decade, a development has taken place in the film industry, which has been widely noticed, and might even have caused a measure of surprise in the more seasoned observer. While in the ‘90s and early 2000’s hit TV series obviously existed (one need only think of Friends, which was the most watched show on streaming services, 25 years after its release) it was quite obvious that the big star of the screen was cinema. Today, though cinema still has a very important place in many peoples’ lives, the small screen has taken a much more prominent role for an exceedingly large amount of the population. With the advent of on-demand streaming services, that dynamic has only continued to grow. Now we can ask ourselves, how did we go from “dinner and a movie” to “Netflix and chill” in under a decade?

Last update on : 30.12.2020

An annual turnover of 231 million euros in Belgium

While not completely beating out classical TV quite yet, streaming services have become ubiquitous in our modern lives. In Belgium, at least 29%1 of the population has subscribed to a video streaming service, this represents an annual turnover of slightly more than 231 million euros. Overall, Belgium is not the biggest adapter of streaming services yet in Europe, the country with the highest number of subscribers is Sweden, with 37,5% of market penetration. Of course, these numbers only consider the people that are actually paying for a subscription and do not take into account the people that use streaming services paid for by a family member or a friend. . 



Last update on : 30.12.2020

People can choose...

What is the main point of attraction for on demand streaming services? For one, of course, one needs to speak about the ease of consumption. Instead of having to actually leave one’s house and go to the cinema to watch the latest film, or having to wait until it came out on a hard medium (cassette or DVD), now shows are being made specifically for streaming services. People can choose when to watch said shows and are no longer obligated to sit in front of their TV Thursday evening at precisely nine fifteen to not miss the first scene. There is no more advertising that cuts through the episodes of each show.

Last update on : 30.12.2020

Greater risk taking allowed

The flexibility of the format of TV and streaming services has in turn created another phenomenon. Said services have a far greater tendency to take on new ideas, screenplays that would not have made it through the first focus group for cinema, could quite gladly be accepted by a streaming service. The relatively low cost (in comparison to films) of the production of a show, and the ease of return on these shows allowed for greater risk taking.

Last update on : 30.12.2020

Special focus on shows & series

Beyond this, new festivals are being created, on the same model as film festivals, that focus specifically on shows and series. For example, we could talk about Canneseries where Lincoln TV in coproduction with SCOPE Pictures have had the pleasure to present “Cheyenne & Lola”. These festivals give cachet to the world of series and shows. New, high value series are now also coming from other places than the US. One need only think of “Atlantic Crossing”, which came out of Norway in a coproduction between Cinenord and SCOPE Pictures. It has already found its market, with the very well-known channel PBS claiming it for the US market for example. European production of shows has seen a steady increase. In 2016 for example, the European series industry produced a total of 922 shows, representing 16.400 episodes and a total of 11.000 hours2.


2. “TV Production Fiction in the European Union”, Observatoire Européen de l’Audiovisuel, 2016.

Last update on : 30.12.2020

Stay tuned...

In the next article of this series, we will talk about the talent that is attracted to television and series today. Stay tuned for then!

Last update on : 30.12.2020


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