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TV drama facing a squeeze from competition

“High-end TV drama is increasingly front and centre of strategy as linear broadcasters and on-demand platforms attempt to hook audiences and subscribers,” states a report from IHS Technology Television Programming Intelligence.

While the OTT players and their studio suppliers are happy turning out extremely high-quality programming (such as House of Cards and Game of Thrones) and often marrying this output via some mainstream networks, it is also clear that newish entrants such as AMC, Showtime and Starz are boosting their investments in top-quality programming.

IHS also says that non-English drama (suitably subtitled) is also winning popular appeal from European broadcasters and that this content is increasingly filmic and lavish as they win international sales.

The end result is that scripted drama in the US grew 16 percent in 2014, and last year is likely to have seen a similar increase. IHS says that by the end of 2015 some 78 percent of US network dramas have sold internationally.

And for some markets there is another squeeze taking place, from players such as Brazil (1346 hours of drama last year, including Telenovellas) and Turkey (1333 hours in 2013), and these shows are highly popular in some markets.

However, this volume poses a down-side threat to established drama producers. “A squeeze could take place due to high volumes and competition for the best distribution,” says IHS.

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