The US is still by far the leading producer of scripted drama and comedy programming in the world. However, investment by the leading online subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) platforms, a new focus on high end original drama by European players, and increasing focus on global sales by non-English-language producers, are combining to shift the axis of power in scripted production.
IHS Markit’s Channels & Programming Intelligence tracked original drama and comedy production over the last three years in a group of the leading scripted television producing territories: the USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK and Australia. In 2016, these six countries (plus online) transmitted 7,904 hours of first-run original drama and comedy. This was only marginally more than the total in 2014.
The USA remains by far the leading producer, with 2,963 hours transmitted by the broadcast and cable networks in 2016. This decline was counterbalanced by high growth in online (including the now-global Amazon and Netflix, but also US players like Hulu and Crackle), with original online production hours increasing to 518 hours in 2016.
Original scripted hours produced by US broadcasters (network and cable, excluding online) have declined in the last three years, with 2,963 hours transmitted in 2016 compared to 3,161 in 2014. The main factor in the US decline was cable, with original drama hours down from just under 1,000 hours in 2014 to 822 hours in 2016.
This decline was counterbalanced by high growth in online (including the now-global Amazon and Netflix, but also US players like Hulu and Crackle), with original online production hours increasing to 518 hours in 2016 from 152 hours in 2014.
Overall, the six leading countries (plus online) tracked in our report transmitted 7,904 hours of first-run original drama and comedy, only marginally more than the 7,813 hours transmitted in 2014. Original production is key to driving the SVoD services into new homes, and productions outside the US are crucial in driving take-up in the international market.
Outside the US, Germany and the UK are the leading producers of original scripted programming among the countries that we researched. In both countries, strong public service broadcasters investing heavily in national scripted programming are a key part of this.
In terms of tiles produced, Time Warner was the largest producer of scripted programming in 2016, with 52 delivered, followed by 21st Century Fox (50 titles). European groups were led by the BBC (41 titles), with Endemol Shine, ITV Studios and All3Media also prominent.
All3Media (based in the UK but US-owned) was the largest producer in terms of hours, with 845 hours transmitted in 2016, followed by Sony Pictures Television with 598 hours and the BBC with 520 hours. We tracked productions by All3Media companies in three countries, but the group’s 650 hours in Germany were the main component of its 2016 output.
Tracking of production company mergers and acquisitions reveals a growth in transactions involving companies producing scripted programming. Our analysis of worldwide M&A in this segment of the media found an increase in the number of scripted content producer acquisitions since 2014—from 18 in 2013 to 30 in 2016. The first ten months of 2017 has already seen 41 scripted content producer M&As.
List of tables and charts:
- Annual transmissions of original scripted programming (hours)—6 territories & online
- Annual transmissions of original drama programming (hours)
- Annual transmissions of original comedy programming (hours)
- Largest scripted broadcaster by territory (2016)
- USA: Original scripted hours by genre
- USA Networks: Scripted Output by Channel (hours)
- USA Cable: Scripted Output by Channel Group
- USA: network soaps output (hours)
- USA: Launch dates of new and returning US scripted programming, by network type
- USA Network Scripted Hours - Top 20 Production Labels
- USA Scripted Hours - Cable - Top 20 Production Labels
- Online Scripted transmissions by genre (hours)
- Netflix Original programmes (hours)
- Amazon Original programmes (hours)
- Hulu Originals programme (hours)
- Online Scripted Hours - Production Groups (2014-2016)
- Germany: Original scripted hours by genre
- Germany: Scripted Output by Channel
- Germany Scripted Hours Top 10 Production Groups
- Germany Scripted Titles Top Production Groups
- France: Original scripted hours by genre
- France: Scripted Output by Channel
- France: Scripted Hours Top 10 Production Groups
- France: Scripted Titles Top 10 production Groups
- UK: Scripted Output by Channel
- UK: Original scripted hours by genre
- UK: Scripted Hours Top 10 Production Groups—excluding online
- UK: Scripted Titles Top 10 Production Groups—excluding online
- Canada: Original scripted hours by genre (English/ French)
- Canada: Scripted Output by Channel
- Canada: Scripted Hours Top 20 Production Labels—excluding online
- Australia original scripted hours by genre
- Australia: Scripted Output by Channel
- Australia Scripted Hours Top 15 Production Labels—excluding online
- Leading Production Groups (Scripted) across 7 territories and Online (Titles)
- Leading Production Groups (Scripted) across 7 territories and Online (Hours)
- Scripted Production company mergers & acquisitions (top buyers 2014 -2017)
- Number of M&A of companies producing scripted and non-scripted
- Average cost of original drama per hour in domestic currency
- Average cost of original drama per hour in US Dollars
Number of pages: 39
Number of Tables and Charts: 39
Director, Research and Analysis, Programming
Tim Westcott is a director of research and analysis for Programming at Omdia.
Senior Research Analyst, Media
Aled Evans is a senior analyst who specializes in advertising, content production and channels & programming across international markets.