22 MAR 2022

Mediawan supercharges scripted growth and now eyes movie market

The group went from being the 13th largest producer of first-run scripted TV content globally in 2019, to joint sixth in 2021, tied with fellow French giant Banijay, and the UK’s ITV group, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

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“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir”

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When French media group Mediawan launched in 2015, its stated ambition was to become a European content powerhouse. Home to over 50 subsidiary production labels as of 2022, its latest flurry of acquisition activity has cemented its reputation as a contender on not only the European, but the world stage. The group went from being the 13th largest producer of first-run scripted TV content globally in 2019, to joint sixth in 2021, tied with fellow French giant Banijay, and the UK’s ITV group, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

The group’s most high-profile acquisition in recent years was France’s Lagardère Studios, but it now also boasts assets in Italy, Spain, and in the UK thanks to a joint takeover of London-based Drama Republic with Germany’s Leonine Studios.

The international success of titles such as “Call My Agent!” (produced by Mediawan’s Mon Voisin Productions alongside Mother Production) first highlighted the crossover potential of French content on on-demand platforms. The international streaming market is a key target for Mediawan’s distribution arm. According to Ampere’s Popularity Score, which tracks third-party Internet search and look-up volumes, Mediawan property “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” had the highest global rating of any French-produced title available on streaming services in 2021. A movie adaptation, “Ladybug & Cat Noir: Awakening,” is set for release this year.

The animated children & family show was followed closely by Netflix’s international success, “Lupin”. Its star Omar Sy first gained international prominence in producer Laurent Zeitoun’s breakout box office hit “Intouchables,” which despite turning ten years old last year was the third most popular French title in 2021 in terms of online engagement. Mediawan telegraphed the ramping up of its ambitions in the cinema sector by announcing a partnership with Zeitoun’s production company Good Hero in February 2022.

The group’s targeting of original movies as a space for growth comes at a time when the French TV sector is still feeling the residual impacts of the pandemic, Ampere said. France was the eighth largest producer of first-run scripted TV titles globally in 2021, but while commissioning recovered swiftly to pre-pandemic levels the market has not seen the kind of growth in new show orders driven by SVOD expansion notable among major US content producers.

French independent production continues to thrive; nearly 54% of first-run scripted TV commissions in 2021 were sourced from independent labels unaffiliated with any larger producer group. “Yet, with President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election pledge to scrap the television licence fee drawing consternation from France’s Union of Independent Producers, consolidation and collaboration of the kind that has propelled Mediawan’s rise is likely to be an ever-present topic of conversation as the French industry meets in Lille for the Séries Mania TV festival this week,”  noted Alice Thorpe, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.

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