Advanced Television

Analyst: Q1’22 best for streaming series renewals

May 23, 2022

Q1 2022 saw streamers display an increased commitment to returning series, with more TV shows for VoD platforms renewed for their second or later season than ever before, according to Ampere Analysis.

The increase in the volume of streaming renewals is being driven by relative newcomers to the VoD landscape such as Disney+ and Discovery+, as they turn their considerable production capacity to streaming. Both companies can be seen taking multiple season risks on high-profile titles, as well as renewing existing titles previously intended for their linear platforms.

Despite a common misconception that streaming series are more likely to be short-lived than their linear counterparts, recent VoD commissioning shows that streamers are increasingly committed to long-running series. Of all VoD renewals in the UK and US announced in 2021, 51 per cent were in their fourth or later season, a 6 per cent increase in comparison to 2020, suggesting that long-running series are no less effective in driving both subscriber growth and retention than shorter, or limited series.

But there are differences in strategies between streamers. Netflix first run commissions continued to increase throughout 2021 (with 8 per cent more new titles announced than in 2020), but the number of returning titles announced by the streaming giant showed a decrease, with 2 per cent fewer renewals announced in 2021 than in 2020.

Unscripted titles were less likely to be cancelled than their scripted counterparts, representing just 7 per cent of all streaming cancellations in 2021. Unscripted titles are also more likely to last longer, representing the highest proportion of all VoD renewals in Q1 2022 (54 per cent).

“It has been suggested that streamers’ high rate of cancellation is purely due to their high rate of commissioning, where a large volume of titles are ordered with the expectation that only a handful of titles will succeed. However, with an overall increase in the volume and proportion of returning VoD titles, streamers must strike a balance between committing to fresh new content and satisfying fans of existing titles in order to compete. For streaming newcomers like Disney+ and Discovery+, which have well-established fan bases for key IP, it’s easier for commissioners to make long-term commitments to titles they know viewers will love.”

“Streamers also need to compromise between pleasing fanbases of more expensive scripted titles from genres like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, while making a range of unscripted content. The latter fleshes out their catalogue with cheaper to make, easily digestible titles, that can be very popular, and therefore represent a better return on investment,” she advises.

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