Industry / Market - Europe/USA
Industry Report: Series
International co-productions are back on track, reveals the latest Omdia report
The study, unveiled during this year’s MIPCOM, focuses in particular on the huge role played by streamers in the current post-pandemic phase
Business is back to normal, says Omdia’s latest report. The study, authored by Tim Westcott and titled “International Co-production Is Back on the Road to Recovery”, was unveiled during this year’s MIPCOM (17-20 October). The figures and insights provided by Omdia are the result of a context in which “streaming services are extending their footprint across the world, fuelling a post-pandemic boom in production”.
After the lockdowns and restrictions of these last two years, which prompted “delayed commissioning decisions, freezing of budgets, increased cost of shooting and disrupted travel”, today, “most of the obstacles have been lifted, and companies are making up for lost time”. In 2022, Disney has been investing $25 billion in new content, followed by Netflix ($15 billion), Discovery ($12.5 billion), Amazon, Paramount and NBC ($10 billion each). In particular, even though the Los Gatos-based platform is now facing a backlash from investors, it scored “53 million more subscribers in the second quarter of 2022 than at the end of 2019, a gain of nearly 33%”. Netflix has invested massively in new content, commissioning productions in 37 countries outside of the USA. Meanwhile, Disney “has almost closed the gap in subscriber numbers on Netflix” and has announced a rich slate of original commissions in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Westcott also notes how “the rise of streaming has also forced a response from players that existed before the advent of what Netflix calls the era of internet TV”. He mentions some of these responses – for example, The Alliance, set up by RAI, ZDF and France Télévisions (whose “first fruit” is the series Leonardo); Beta Film’s multi-year co-distribution deal with Telefónica that was sealed at the ninth edition of MIPTV; and Viaplay’s partnership agreements with Sony and MGM.
Moreover, the study indicates, “Co-production has been a way of life for smaller countries and producers of genres like animation (which are seldom fully funded by commissioners) for some years” and that the “streamers are powering international rollout with local production”.
In addition, Netflix and the other SVoD platforms (including those managed by broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and TF1) aim to create “a virtuous circle, with the increase in new programming converting into increases in paying subscribers”, since “more original content reduces the streamers’ dependence on suppliers”. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that producing content is often less expensive outside the USA (ranging from $20-25 million for US-produced scripted shows, to $5 million in Europe and $1 million in Latin America and Asia).
On the topic of volumes, the research shows that in 2021, Netflix outstripped other platforms with the launch of 552 titles for a total of 1,873 hours – well ahead of Amazon, which released 102 titles for a total of 406 hours. In the first six months of 2022, Netflix had already made 406 new titles available.
The UK, together with Canada, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea, have all seen an influx of production money from Netflix. According to the figures provided by the BFI, “Inward and co-production investment in high-end television in the UK surged to £4 billion [circa €4.58 billion] in 2021, up from £1.6 billion [circa €1.83 billion] the year before.”
On the topic of production and distribution revenues,France’s Banijay Group has attained sixth place thanks to its acquisition of Endemol Shine and other groups, with a total of $3.3 billion in 2021 revenues, ahead of ITV Studios. Westcott adds: “Banijay’s increasing scale is also part of a strong performance by French groups, with TF1, Canal Plus and Gaumont all growing well,” with the effect being that France is replacing the UK “as the most dynamic merger and acquisition market for TV production companies”. Besides, Fremantle reached a commendable eighth place, increasing its revenues by 29% to $2.3 billion.
In terms of TV production revenues, the TV division of France’s Gaumont enjoyed stellar growth in 2021 (close to +180%), more than doubling that of Banijay and South Korea’s JTBC.
Despite all of these enthusiastic remarks, the report concludes, “There are some signs that the flood of new investment by the streamers may be starting to slacken.” Among these are HBO Max’s slashing of its investments in original content, Paramount and NBC Universal’s pact with Sky to join forces in launching streaming services in parts of Europe where Sky is not operating, and a generally slower growth rate of new subscriptions. The study also points out how broadcasters now expect producers to take more risks owing to decreased licence fees, by “either funding part of the production themselves or finding other partners to make up for the deficit”.
The full document can be requested by clicking here.
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