Advanced Television

Analyst: SVoD services wake up to Reality

April 8, 2020

Research from consultancy firm Ampere Analysis on commissions, renewals and cancellations in 2019 has found that Reality was the second-most commissioned genre for linear services and third-most commissioned genre for video on-demand (VoD) services.

Data from Ampere’s Analytics service indicates that Netflix has ramped up production of Reality content compared to previous years. While in January 2018 Netflix had four original Reality TV shows available, by year-end 2019, this number had grown eightfold to 32 original Reality titles, with dating show Love Is Blind among its top-performing shows in Q1 2020.

Commissions and renewals by genre

  • The most commissioned genre in the UK and the US in 2019 was Documentary, with one-off commissions a frequent occurrence. Documentary represented 31 per cent of all first-run series ordered in 2019.
  • The second most commissioned and renewed genre was Reality – at 14 per cent of all commissions in 2019.
  • In total, 337 Reality shows were commissioned in the UK and the US.
  • Comedy closely follows Reality, and is the third most commissioned and renewed genre. It’s worth noting that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of shows are yet to begin series production, reflecting the longer production period required for scripted series. First-run commissions accounted for 67 per cent of all series announced in 2019 – this means shows being ordered for a first season, including limited series.
  • Most renewals were Reality (24 per cent), with Comedy (17 per cent), and Documentary (17 per cent) following closely behind.

Linear versus VoD

  • Renewals in 2019 are skewed towards linear commissions, with linear series representing 85 per cent of all UK and US renewals in 2019.
  • High-profile unscripted linear renewals included 19th and 20th season order for MTV’s UK Reality series Geordie Shore, and a 17th season order for NBC’s music competition show The Voice.
  • In 2019, linear channels cancelled 515 shows while VoD services cancelled 151. However, this is slightly skewed by the cancellations of series with a predetermined limit on the number of episodes. Once these shows are removed from the analysis, data shows that linear channels cancelled 178 shows, while VoD services cancelled 66.
  • 65 per cent of linear renewals were unscripted series, in comparison with just 25 per cent of all VoD renewals, with streamers preferring to focus on higher-budget, scripted fare.
  • Reality was relatively safe from cancellation on both linear and VoD platforms – only 8 per cent of all cancellations were Reality.

“While Reality has been a staple for linear TV due to lower per-hour production costs and continued popularity among consumers, VoD services have been increasingly investing in the genre,” advises Olivia Deane, Analyst at Ampere Analysis. “With Netflix already commissioning two more seasons of top performing title, Love is Blind, Reality looks like it will be the next battleground for linear and VoD services.”

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