The television production business has been transformed from one where a handful of broadcasters commissioned programming from mainly local suppliers to a global marketplace where producers and distributors work with multiple buyers. Online platforms and telcos looking to make their mark with original programming, opportunities for producers have increased, but the challenges are also considerable.

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Much of this process has been unrolling over many years, and TV production remains a highly fragmented sector. While increasingly large studio and production groups operate at international scale, other smaller outfits have only one or two full-time employees. The basic production business model—create a programme or series, get commissioned by a local broadcaster, and seek to scrape a profit from the difference between the budget, and any fees or intellectual property (IP) you can retain—continues on, not always very strongly.

In order to understand the dynamics of this fast-changing marketplace, IHS Markit interviewed a wide range of senior executives from leading production groups around the world. We also analysed the leading players in the worldwide production business to understand the current financial health of the sector and put together programming expenditure data for 26 leading TV markets across the world from IHS Markit’s Channels and Programming Intelligence service. We also track the global SVoD platforms Netflix and Amazon Video.

This white paper’s key findings include:

  • While online platforms have injected new funding, linear TV investment is flat in most major countries
  • High-end drama production is riding high, and is expected to continue
  • Unscripted genres cause some concern for producers, with a shortage of new programmes replacing ageing formats
  • The emphasis of M&A activity is shifting to one of access to off-screen talent
  • The rapid expansion of the online sector has created a battleground for rights between commissioners and producers

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