Czech Television in Numbers

How many documentaries are produced annually by the Czech Television (CT)? What categories are they divided into and what does it cost?

Illustration: Míša Kukovičová

Czech Television is undoubtedly the most important producer of documentary films in our country, at least when it comes down to the quantity. What does this translate to in the language of numbers?

To paint a picture: The total expenses of Czech Television reached 6956 million - nearly 7 billion Czech crowns. This includes the expenses for program production in the sum of  2253 million. A sum of 91 million was invested in documentary filmmaking. For comparison: drama production got funded with 493 million, news production got 332 million and opinion journalism reached a sum of 217 million crowns.

In 2013, Czech Television produced 253 documentaries and the number last year was 259. This amount includes solitary documentaries, distribution titles that go to cinemas, as well as documentary series and so-called docusoaps. This concept, established very well abroad, has been spreading even to our part of the world in recent years- it is a genre in which the film combines documentary practices and reality television. This attractive format often touches on important topics like the series Když v tom jedou ženy (When Women Are Hooked) by Theodora Remundová, which deals with women's addictions, or Třída 8. A (The Class 8. A), concentrated on the issue of education provided to socially disadvantaged children.

But let us get back to talking numbers. When we calculate individual parts of documentaries series and cycles we get a number of 1040 episodes in the year before last and 1004 episodes last year. Let’s take a closer look at the power balance in the documentary field. In 2013, 12 documentary distribution titles premiered, in the year 2014 there were 19, and an estimated average of 22 is expected for the year 2015. Compared to 2013, we will get 60% more documentary films which we’ll see in the cinemas thanks to the support of CT. They are all co-production titles, the only exception in the past two years was Martin Dušek’s film, K oblakům vzhlížíme (Into the Clouds We Gaze), which was created as an exclusive production of CT. Distribution documentaries accounted for 4.6% the year before and 6.6% of the total number of CT documentary titles last year.

What are the numbers when it comes down to productions intended primarily for television? Generally speaking, in terms of the amount 80% of titles are the exclusive production of CT, the rest are coproductions. Out of all the documentary formats, documentary series lead the way. In 2013, they accounted for 80 % and in 2014 77.7 % of the total amount of documentary production. Solitary documentaries – the area where creative documentaries have the most potential – made up little more than a tenth of all production: 11.4% in 2013 and 12.3% in 2014. Docusoaps, at least for the time being, are on the defence: 3.9% the year before last and last year they made 3.5 % of all documentary productions.

So much for at least a few numbers from the TV archives. You can’t really paint an overall picture of documentary filmmaking in public television with them, but perhaps they at least provide some insight. Another round again next time.

Translated by Floriana Skorulska

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