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The world's top 100 international TV distributors.

In June, Video Age reported that 1996 U.S. TV sales internationally amounted to $3.85 billion. This year sales could reach $4.5 billion. To this figure one can add an estimated $2 billion from companies not belonging to the AFMA or the MPAA. The global TV program market can therefore be estimated at more than $6.5 billion a year. This volume is generated primarily by 14 countries. Nine of these countries are the world's largest TV buyers, but acquisition budgets are not related to sales. Indeed, buyers such as Germany, Italy and Spain (the world's No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 buyers, respectively) have relatively few foreign sales, ranking No. 3, No. 6 and No. 10, respectively, on the world chart. The number of TV distribution companies in each country doesn't indicate sales volume. For example, Canada and Australia have less TV distributors than France and Italy but have greater international TV sales. Our survey showed that the world's top five countries in terms of TV export are the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Canada and France. But these figures are subject to distortion because the U.K., France and Germany distribute a lot of Canadian product.

Video Age's Top 100 includes distributors of theatrical and video product to television. They are ranked by country and by their direct and indirect worldwide sales; there is also an overall worldwide ranking. Based on the estimated figures, the U.S. studios rank as follows: No. 1, Warner Bros.; No. 2, Paramount; No. 3, Universal; No. 4, Columbia; No. 5, 20th Century Fox; No. 6, Disney; and No. 7, MGM. As one industry executive so aptly put it, "He who has the most movies wins."

Many companies were hesitant to release their financial figures, and some exaggerated their disclosures. (Hearst, which is regarded as a U.S. mini-major, was so guarded with its information that it didn't want to be included in the list.) For those companies that did not release figures, Video Age provides an estimate based on annual reports, financial statements, unofficial published reports and industry sources.


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Publication:Video Age International
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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