France set an all-time tv programming export record in 2017, driven in large part by the strength of its animation sector.

Animation was the country’s most valuable programming export, according to new figures announced today by the CNC (National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image) and TV France International.

Animated programming accounted for 37% of French sales, for a total revenue of nearly 76 million euros (US$88.4 million). Exports of fiction generated 64 million euros, while sales of documentaries accounted for nearly 36 million euros.

The total amount of foreign tv sales of French programming in 2017 set an all-time record of 205 million euros, and combined with co-productions and presales, 325 million euros. (The latter total was the 2nd strongest performance in 20 years, bested only by 2016.)

Sales to the U.S. and Canada were up 16% year-over-year, helping to drive overall figures upward. Also, digital platforms now account for 75% of world rights deals (compared to just 28% in 2016).

“We are delighted at this continual growth and the doubling of sales in 10 years,” said Hervé Michel, president of TV France International. “These indicators and the record sales figures are the result of a dynamic marketplace, but also the remarkable capacity of our sales companies to understand a market that is both complex and rapidly evolving. It is also the result of the improving quality of French productions and the talent of our creatives — a value chain that is supported by the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée [CNC] and the public authorities.”

The CNC implemented changes four years ago to grow the export of its tv and film works, notably doubling its support for sales companies (from 1.7 to 3.4 million euros per year), as well as creating new subsidies to encourage international cooperation and grow talent.

“The future of our television industry today depends on international development, a vector for growth that is key for the future of the sector,” said CNC presidnet Frédérique Bredin. “In 2016, we launched an export plan with industry executives, which is today bearing fruit.”

Image at top: The French animated series “Lastman” which was recently sold to Mondo Media for U.S. airing on VRV.