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IHS: Scripted TV Production Declines

16 Oct, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite multi-billion-dollar spending by Netflix, Amazon Studios and Hulu on scripted television productions, overall spending dropped in 2016, according to new data from IHS Markit.

After reaching and cresting 2,500 hours of scripted programming in 2014 and 2015, respectively, scripted programming dipped less than 8% at slightly more than 2,300 hours last year.

In addition to SVOD (which released more than 500 scripted hours), HBO and AMC Networks increased original scripted programming production last year, while seven other pay-TV networks decreased production. Scripted programming production remained unchanged among broadcast networks.

“The fall-off in production of originals we've observed in U.S. cable and Germany shows that in some markets, the supply of drama is starting to outstrip demand,” Tim Westcott, research director of channels and programming at IHS, said in a statement.

The United Kingdom increased output, with 1,233 hours in 2016, while volumes in France and Australia were almost unchanged. Canada registered the highest percentage growth in scripted transmissions at 488 hours, while Germany was the largest volume producer outside the U.S., with 1,388 hours of scripted programming in 2016.

Westcott said TV schedulers have other genres of programming to supplant more-expensive scripted content, including scripted reality, entertainment formats or comedy game shows.

At the same time, original drama and comedy series serve a variety of needs, aggregating audiences for free-to-air channels, reinforcing the subscriber proposition of pay channels, and driving the adoption of new subscription video-on-demand services, according to the report.

“The stock of scripted programming is high, with a flood of new investment from online platforms, telcos and others supporting an enduring boom in production,” Westcott said.

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