British viewers’ love of foreign language drama shows no sign of abating, as the global drama streaming service, Walter Presents, has smashed through the 100 million streams landmark in the UK.
Walter Presents first launched on Channel 4 and its streaming service All 4, almost 4 years ago with the aim of championing high quality, award-winning, foreign-language drama from around the world. The premiere on Channel 4 of its German-language launch series, Deutschland 83, quickly became the highest rating foreign-language drama in UK TV history. Since then the brand has gone from strength to strength, rolling out in the U.S., Australia and a number of European countries. However, it’s with UK audiences – where so far it has provided its viewers with access to 112 shows from 22 different countries – that it has made its biggest mark.
When it comes to assessing what is driving British viewers’ ongoing love affair with sub-titled scripted series, an analysis of the streams that the Walter Presents service has delivered to date reveals a somewhat surprising picture. Based on total views, it is not Scandinavia but France and Belgium that lead the way.
With its gripping thrillers often set in stunning locations, France tops the table with its series attracting almost 18 million views – it seems there’s nothing British viewers like better than tucking into a juicy French box set. Although Belgium has fewer episodes available on the service, when ranked by country of origin it still manages a creditable second in terms of total volume of views, thanks largely in part to dark psychological thrillers like 13 Commandments, Tabula Rasa, and quirky crime shows like Professor T. Despite the popularity of past shows like The Killing and The Bridge, the first Scandinavian country on the list of favourite countries of origin is Denmark, which comes in at number 5, bagging almost 11% of total views.
The top five countries in full:
However, this year’s runaway Walter Presents hit is a Dutch series. The Adulterer quickly became the service’s most popular series of 2019 after launching in April. Outside of Europe the most popular titles have come from South America and Brazil in particular.
Walter Presents remains a very upmarket brand averaging a 79% ABC1 profile. The series that attracted the highest number of ABC1 viewers with a whopping 89% is French political thriller Spin, closely followed by Deutschland 83 and 86. The first series of the cold war spy thriller has also been the most popular offering amongst 16 to 24-year-olds, with hit Spanish prison show Locked Up a close second and Danish vampire series, Heartless, third.
On a quirky note, the prize for the fastest binge-watch by British viewers goes to a series from Poland called The Border. In addition, the top 1,769 viewers have made more than one thousand Walter Presents views each!
Curator of Walter Presents – and the man whom the service was named after – Walter Iuzzolino says: “I always knew British audiences would appreciate great drama regardless of where in the world it originates from and I also knew they wouldn’t be frightened by subtitles. But, if I’m honest, even I could never have dreamed the British would have embraced foreign-language drama quite as eagerly as they have done.”