The supply and release of new content will be disrupted well into 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ampere Analysis.
The non-scripted sector will emerge from the crisis faster thanks to the production of non-location-based shows and COVID-related content, but it will feel the impact of the delay of megahit formats like The Bachelorette and Love Island.
Production on scripted shows is taking a bigger hit: “even if production is able to restart in June, underlying effects of the shutdown will be felt in the scripted TV market for the remainder of 2020, and well into 2021,” Ampere says.
In the second half of this year, the leading commissioners across the globe will release between 5 percent and 10 percent fewer new scripted titles on a monthly basis. This could last into the first half of 2021.
More than 50 percent of scripted titles that would have been released in the second half are at risk of delays in release schedules. The fall season is particularly at risk—between 50 percent and 60 percent of scripted titles that would have been launched in the period are at risk of delay.
Ampere further estimates that 5 percent to 10 percent of fall releases are likely be lost entirely due to the current production shutdown.
It will take till March 2021 for the proportion of scripted releases unaffected by the shutdown to rise above 40 percent.
Fred Black, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, said, “There is one certainty among the current uncertainty—that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the TV production industry far beyond the end of the lockdown. Initially, we expect delays to cause gaps in scripted TV release schedules, which broadcasters and streaming players will have to fill with other content. However, as delayed productions begin to fill out content gaps in later months, these gaps will begin to close. But this has further ramifications. The knock-on effect of delayed releases is a likely depression of the number of new commissions for some time after the shutdown ends, as commissioners look to fill schedules with delayed projects they have already invested in before signing off new ones.”
While scripted commissioning is down, unscripted commissions are up, driven by broadcasters and platforms ordering COVID-19-specific titles. “Commissioners are currently creating a large number of extra unscripted projects which can be used to cover gaps in the schedule left by delayed titles or the missed scripted commissions,” Black said. “This number of extra commissions will begin to wane as the shutdown ends, with audience appetite for COVID-19-specific content already showing signs of falling.”