Advanced Television

Analysis: Discovery extends commissioning lead

January 27, 2022

Discovery was the greatest global commissioner of TV shows in 2021, with a record-breaking 556 first-run TV titles commissioned in the year, according to Ampere Analysis. This extends Discovery’s lead of 46, recorded in 2020, to 153 titles by the end of 2021.

ViacomCBS pipped Netflix for second place with 406 titles, compared to Netflix’s 403. Three other contenders –Disney, the BBC and Comcast – came close with 387, 373, and 353 first-run shows respectively. This group of six pulled further ahead of their global rivals through 2021, with each supporting the expansion of their own SVoD services. WarnerMedia also accelerated throughout the year, but not enough to rank in the top six.

The key for 2022 will be those shows commissioned but not yet released; the in-production slate. Discovery’s typical commissions (largely documentaries) have a shorter production timescale and are lower cost and less high-profile than titles on Netflix’s still predominantly Scripted slate.

Over 2,000 Original titles on Netflix

Netflix is set to release most of its 243 in-production TV titles in 2022 (with an additional 106 movies), which will push the streamer’s overall slate of Original releases to over 2,000 titles.

These figures for 2021 exclude the US majors’ growing SVoD movie slate. Combined they have commissioned 74 movie titles specifically for SVoD. However, adding Netflix’s 203 commissioned movies in 2021 would push the global streamer into first place, albeit via a less direct comparison.

Focus on streaming platforms

Through their in-production TV show commissions for their VoD platforms, the studios’ intentions are laid bare. Among all the TV shows currently being produced by Disney, 58 per cent are now Originals for its streaming platform, Disney+. WarnerMedia follows closely behind with 85 titles for HBO Max, representing 48 per cent of the shows it currently has in production. Titles destined for VoD make up 39 per cent of ViacomCBS’s current slate and 28 per cent of Comcast’s.

“2022 will see further additions to these content slates, as the studio-backed VoD services continue to expand both their original catalogues and subscriber bases, both domestically and, increasingly, internationally,” advises Richard Cooper, Research Director at Ampere Analysis.

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