If you lived in the U.K. and wanted to watch the premiere of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, you’d have had to set the alarm for 2 a.m., with HBO airing the episode at the same time it was seen by American audiences April 24.
And while not every major American debut will be simulcast overseas, the windows for scripted shows are shortening dramatically and quickly, according to a new report from IHS Technology.
Examining how quickly American series debut in the U.K., Australia, France and Germany, the research firm found that in every territory the average window between the U.S. debut and the broadcast in each of those territories had shortened in major ways: from 102 days in 2014 to 37 in the U.K., from 159 days to 32 in France, 120 days to 37 in Australia, and 170 days to 61 in Germany.
“Research clearly indicates that ‘the Netflix effect’ — the policy of the streaming service to launch its originals simultaneously across all of its territories — has transformed the TV distribution business over the last couple of years,” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst for IHS Technology. “However, in a market like France, where viewers are accustomed to watching US series dubbed rather than subtitled, programs can still take many months to make the transition.
“French viewers may even be a whole season behind the U.S. for established shows like CSI or Castle, and furthermore many of the U.S. series aired by linear TV networks in France are second runs of shows that have made a debut elsewhere.”
IHS’s data came from looking at the international licensing of 324 drama and comedy scripted series in the U.S. in 2015, from the biggest networks, basic and pay cable, and online platforms. More than 75% had sold to at least one key international territory.