Revolution in TV show industry

19 September 2018, 10:37

On September 18 at KYIV MEDIA WEEK international media forum Ed Waller, editor-in-chief at C21 Media (UK), presented his report “Revolution in TV show industry: new era of financing and distribution”, telling about the latest trends of series production industry using US market as an example.

According to O&O report, series business develops faster than all the other production segments. For instance, if in 2016 18 billion USD total were spent over the world for the production of original drama series, by 2025 this amount may reach 36 billion USD. That is, average yearly growth of expenditures for series content will amount to about 8 percent while the expenditures for TV content in general (including news, sports, movies, etc.) will grow by about 5 percent annually – from 197 billion USD in 2016 to 306 billion USD in 2025.  

This year the quantity of new English-language series in the US will exceed half a thousand for the first time (according to FX Networks forecasts, it will reach 520). Just to compare, in 2002 there were 182, and not that long ago in 2011 – only 266. 

The main growth impetus is online platforms (or SVoD), while traditional broadcasters are gradually leaving the in-house production market for the series. In 2012-2017 the growth in the number of series among OTT and video-on-demand amounted to 680 percent (in absolute numbers this index has grown from 15 to 117 in the said period). Lately major digital video platforms (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) have been actively growing the volumes of investment into original production – from 4.5 billion USD in 2013 to 13 billion USD in 2017 (these are only expenditures of these three services).  

Along with that, American majors actively acquire media groups and film studios, and there is an impression there are practically no indie producers, broadcasters and distributors left at the market. The examples are an offer from The Walt Disney Co to buy a part of assets from 21stCentury Fox and the deal struck by Discovery Communications buying assets from Scripps Networks Interactive. This leads to the situation that, for instance, during Upfronts American television networks commission sequels to the pilots predominantly made by their own productions (i.e., those in the same group/corporation with them), rejecting many exciting pilots which could have become global hits. In general, the model of creating only pilots before the launch of series into production fails, because online platforms commission the whole series from the producer. Therefore, the question who the producers will choose in this case is purely rhetorical. That is why in the recent years an active migration of top management (producers, showrunners) is observed; they leave traditional broadcasters with countless restrictions caused by peculiarities of television programming and come to digital video services. Only time will tell what happens next, but even now we can say for sure that the revolution in series production has already happened. AtleastintheUS.