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Discovery extends TV commissioning lead in 2021

The greatest global commissioner of TV shows in 2021 was Discovery, with a record-breaking 556 first-run TV show titles commissioned in the year. This extends Discovery’s lead of 46, recorded in 2020, to 153 titles by year-end 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 though 2021 with each supporting the expansion of their own subscription video on demand (SVoD) services. WarnerMedia also accelerated though the year but not enough to rank in the top six.

However, for 2022 it is those shows commissioned but not yet released, the in-production slate, that will be key. 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. 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.

It should be noted that the above figures for 2021 exclude the US majors’ growing SVoD movie slate. The US majors combined 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.

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

The year 2022 will see further additions to these slates as the studio-backed VoD services continue to expand both their original catalogues and subscriber bases, both domestically and, increasingly, internationally. Ampere

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