The going rate

Price ranges for U.S. TV product in selected territories

Not too long ago, one could hardly find a U.S. TV show on foreign channels. Now, primetime viewers in many countries are devouring "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Desperate Housewives," "House" and "Law & Order," as well as a host of other offerings from American networks. Additionally, HBO-style cable series are especially strong in some markets.

As a result, prices paid for these shows have moved up considerably. At the same time, they do not reflect the overall state of those engaged in the sale of programming to overseas broadcasters. Independent sellers are finding it extremely difficult to place their product or receive satisfactory payoffs, mainly in such key markets as France, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.K. Encouraging news, however, is the rising opportunities in Russia and Eastern Europe. For the first time, Russia is listed separately on the following price chart and is not linked with Eastern Europe regional sales.

Some foreign sales experts say the plight of the indies is crucial at this time. They're suggesting survival-of-the-fittest ways to combat the domination of the U.S. majors and the plethora of product, including mounting entries from local suppliers, currently in the international market.

James Romanovich, senior vp domestic television and international sales at Allumination FilmWorks, proposes that those "stuck in the traditional method of distribution" consider "getting in on the ground floor of new-media options." He calls attention to video-on-demand, cable downloading, mobile phones and other digital devices rapidly entering the consumer market.

The following price chart has been overhauled in acknowledgment of the standing of indie sellers as they unveil their product at this year's MIPTV. The price estimates for all rights are meant only as broad guidelines for the independent TV community and in no way represent the endorsement of any industry organization. It should be emphasized that not all shows can find a buyer in every market, and many have been known to remain completely unsold. It also should come as no surprise to sellers that there will be times when they'll have to unload a show below the low-end guideline. Conversely, a surprise hit can skyrocket beyond the estimated high-end price listed below.

James Romanovich, senior vp domestic television and international sales at Allumination FilmWorks, and Rob Aft, president of Compliance Consulting, assisted in an analysis of this price structure.

Hour series TV movie Children's ani/live-action Documentaries
Australia $10-$25 $10-$25 $2-$10 $2-$10
Eastern Europe* 10-30 10-30 2-10 3-10
France 10-40 20-60 5-15 5-20
Germany 15-60 20-75 5-10 5-20
Hong Kong 1-3 2-5 1-2 1-3
Israel 1-3 2-5 1-3 1-3
Italy 15-50 15-50 2-5 3-10
Japan 10-40 15-50 5-10 5-15
Latin America* 10-50 15-50 5-15 5-15
Middle East* 1-3 2-5 1-3 1-3
Netherlands 5-15 10-30 2-5 3-10
Russia 5-15 10-25 3-10 5-15
South Africa 2-5 3-7.5 1-2 1-3
Southeast Asia* 10-50 15-60 2-10 3-10
Spain 15-40 20-50 3-15 3-15
United Kingdom 15-75 20-50 10-30 10-40
Figures in thousands. * indicates regional sales

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Going rate: Price ranges for U.S. TV product
Territory reports: TV biz from around the world