Reality Format 'Come Dine With Me' Carves Out Euro Success


The dinner party competition show rises as "Big Brother" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" fall.

LONDON – The reality show Come Dine With Me is Europe's top format, with audiences gorging on it across 16 surveyed countries.

According to a research report titled "TV Formats in Europe," the dinner party competition show was the most screened TV format in Europe in 201,1 tallying hours in major territories including Germany, France and the U.K.

The research, published by Digital TV Research, Essential Television Statistics and Madigan Cluff, covers 50 major formats across 16 countries.

The dining show ate up a whopping 4,126 hours across Europe in 2011, up from the previous year's 3,272.

And the report also indicates certain previous big-hitting formats such as Big Brother and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire posted drops in screen time in 2011 compared with the previous year.

Simon Murray, co-author and managing director of Digital TV Research, told The Hollywood Reporter the drops can be cyclical as formats are dropped for a year while they are refreshed or re-invented slightly.

Big Brother occupied 972 hours across territories such as Germany, the U.K. and Spain in 2011, plummeting from a whopping 2,502 in 2010 as broadcaster deals changed.

In the U.K., the Endemol show was broadcasting on Channel 4 in 2010 and secured 1,566 hours, considerably more than Channel 5 gave Big Brother when it bought the show and aired it over 209 hours in 2011.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire also felt the love slipping, securing 437 hours across various European territories, down from the 570 hours the previous year.

The report also predicts which shows are set to hog broadcast hours across Europe in the coming months.

Essential Television Statistics co-author and managing director Jonathan Bailey said: "Money Drop was screened for 615 hours and The Voice for 312 hours in 2011 – impressive considering that both shows only started in 2010. Both are expected to grow sharply in 2012."

Money Drop only aired for the first time in 2010, securing 65 hours in that year, while The Voice sang out only in the Netherlands in 2010, with 58 hours.

Total format hours in Europe for the 50 titles covered was 16,856 in 2011, comparable with both 2009 and 2010.

Madigan Cluff director and co-author Michael Cluff said: "The value created by the 50 major formats was $2 billion in 2011 for 97 channels across 16 European territories. The 2011 figure was 8.4 percent up on the 2010 total, with the number of hours broadcast increasing by only 2.4 percent, demonstrating that the category still has expansion potential despite tough times for European broadcasters."

The U.K. is the TV formats powerhouse in Europe. The territory not only screens the highest number of format hours, it also is home to several major formats’ producers and distributors.

The value of formats for U.K. broadcasters was $475 million in 2011. The U.K., France ($382 million), Germany ($381 million) and Italy ($260 million) accounted for three-quarters of Europe’s total value in 2011.

"Five distributors accounted for three-quarters of the format hours in 2011," Murray said. "ITV Studios is the largest distributor by hours, mainly due to Come Dine With Me. However, Endemol ($439 million) was the leading distributor by value created in 2011, closely followed by FremantleMedia ($431 million). The top six distributors accounted for 82 percent of total value created."