Streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are consistently outbidding British broadcasters for new shows amid a global shortage of content, forcing traditional broadcasters to find new ways to fill schedules in the coming months and years.
Although TV audiences rose sharply during lockdown, the near-global production shutdown has created a looming shortage of new material to broadcast. At the same time, Britain’s commercial broadcasters are dealing with the collapse in the advertising market caused by the recession, leaving cash-rich SVoD services able to swoop in and spend big on new commissions to maintain their growth.
John McVay, head of the trade body Pact, which represents the UK’s independent TV production companies, told The Guardian that the circumstances posed a challenge for traditional channels.
“I know a lot of people who work for streamers in acquisitions and they are buying everything,” he said. “Unless we can get new, fresh content into the British schedules that is engaging and resonates with our experience of the world we’re living through, then I fear for our broadcasters.”
He added that there was a particular demand for already made shows looking for a home, as broadcasters and streamers seek to satisfy audiences that want to watch new material. “If you’ve got good quality British content that you’ve made – finished programmes – then you can charge a premium.”