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Total spending on European original works hit almost €21 billion in 2022, finds the latest European Audiovisual Observatory report


Original content accounted for 35% of broadcaster spending, followed by sports rights and acquired programming

Total spending on European original works hit almost €21 billion in 2022, finds the latest European Audiovisual Observatory report
The hit series The Crown, a prime example of European original content

Earlier this week, the European Audiovisual Observatory published a new report, titled “Audiovisual Services Spending on Original European Content – A 2012-2022 Analysis” and authored by Gilles Fontaine.

The study examines spending on content made by audiovisual services in Europe between 2012 and 2022. It is important to mention that the report deals only with spending by audiovisual services, and the figures do not represent the total financing of original content. Therefore, other sources such as public funding, distributors’ minimum guarantees and fiscal incentives are not taken into account.

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The research is based on the dataset provided by British firm Ampere Analysis, and it includes two categories of data: P&L (profit and loss) expenses for broadcasters, and cash investments for global streamers. Spending on content is split into three categories: original content, acquired film and TV programmes, as well as sports rights, from any origin, European or not.

The first key finding shows that spending on original content has increased faster than European audiovisual-sector revenues, whilst sports rights spending is rising sharply. Total outlays on European original works (excluding news and sports rights) topped €20.8 billion in 2022, “reflecting a strong rebound after the COVID-19 crisis”. Moreover, the global streamers’ spending increased sharply in 2022 (+70% versus 2021 at €4.9 billion) and accounted for 24% of all outlays on European original content. However, global streamer spending has not replaced broadcaster spending. On the contrary, broadcasters increased their outlays, at least until the pandemic, faster than before the penetration of the global streamers into the European market. 

In total, original content accounted for 35% of broadcaster spending, followed by sports rights and acquired programming (28% and 26%, respectively) in 2022. Nonetheless, sports rights were number one in terms of content spending for private broadcasters, and they grew significantly faster than any other category of programming. Meanwhile, the share of scripted programming (excluding news) in streamers’ outlays on original content has slightly decreased over time, although scripted programming still accounts for the lion’s share (83%). 

Next, the UK and Spain together accounted for 37% of global streamers’ spending on original European content. Germany and, to a lesser extent, the Netherlands and Poland appear to be lagging behind with regard to their ability to capture global streamer investments. Furthermore, the share of global streamers in original content spending is particularly high in Spain (over 50%) and, to a lesser extent, in the UK, Italy, Denmark and Sweden.

Finally, the report shows that public broadcasters invest particularly strongly in original content in Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition, private broadcasters play a crucial role in backing original content in Poland, Italy and France, whilst global streamers represent the bulk of Spain’s spending.

The full report is available here.

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