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Editor's letter.


"We are Europeans and we now want to see European TV," is how the New York Times quoted a major buyer in a story about U.S. program exports.

Recently, during a five-country European tour, I made a point of watching lots of television. I also studied the countries' TV guides and program ratings reports.

Well, I can now report that European TV doesn't yet exist.

Except for the U.K., which can claim some identity and some Europe-wide acceptance, most of the countries broadcast "generic" television, not "European" television. In Italy, for example, during a particular week, 390 shows were broadcast from 6:30 p.m. until sign-off.

Of these, 22.2 per cent were talk shows, 19.4 per cent news, 10.2 per cent variety shows, 8.6 per cent sports and 6.3 per cent game shows. A large chunk -- 15.3 per cent -- was taken by U.S. films and series.

In Spain, out of 230 weekly programs broadcast in the evening, 18.2 per cent were news, 16.5 per cent talk and 3.6 per cent sports. A large block, 22 per cent, was taken by U.S. series and movies. However, a good portion of the schedule, 18.2 per cent, consisted of Spanish films and series, including Latin American productions.

Looking at the popularity levels in France during my stay, the most watched program -- with 26 per cent of the audience watching TV -- was the game show Intervilles 1991, followed by another game show (17 per cent) and news (11 per cent).

In Italy, one of the most popular programs has been Domenica In, a six-hour, talk/variety show on RAI 1, which is produced at $40,000 per hour.

In the U.K., British series accounted for 9.6 per cent of the evening TV schedule. That is, out of 260 programs broadcast in one week on terrestrial television, 25 were U.K. series. In that country, the vast majority of programs were news (26 per cent), talk shows (14.6 per cent), sports (9.6 per cent) and documentaries (9.6 per cent). American programs took 8 per cent of the schedules.

In Holland, local production is mainly confined to news and talk shows, and the most popular programs were Sound Mix Show, a game show and America's Funniest Home Videos.

In conclusion, I reiterate that, while Europeans have introduced styles and created trends for movies (neo-realism, cinema-verite, spaghetti western), their television has yet to be defined as "European" in character. Programs from each European country rarely cross the borders, plus programming innovation (i.e. MTV, CNN) has not yet found a fertile European ground.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:European television
Author:Serafini, Dom
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:Europeans, Americans talk about Japan.
Next Article:Reflection time for GAS countries.

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