Impacts to come from COVID-19 Pandemic Production Delays


Jack Thomas Senior Analyst

As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to impact all walks of life it continues to hinder the US production market significantly, with it inevitable that the levels of content available as the new season starts will be significantly reduced

The international market for US content remains hugely significant, with the US exporting billions of dollars of video content annually. Looking at Show Tracker data reveals the extent at which some TV markets may be facing a programming deficit in the latter part of 2020

By analysing the average amount of acquisitions from the US fall season that achieves quick distribution internationally within the same period we can see that selected markets have a greater dependency on US content rapidly following its US market premiere

Previous years suggest that Broadcasters in Australia and Spain will have the largest deficit of content, and will likely look to fill some of those gaps with library content or previously unsold titles in their respective regions (Foxtel in Australia premiered 15 US shows in the 2019 fall season, including seven new season shows)

Other broadcast channels in markets such as Sweden have lower levels of acquisitions for US shows in this period, as VOD services such as HBO Nordic and Viaplay take a larger proportion

When the focus is changed to VOD acquisitions this is further emphasised, as Swedish VOD services are likely to suffer the highest content deficit across these markets. Spain, with its own localised HBO service, also comes high in this analysis as well, suggesting a wide range of services may need to re-approach distributors for older content

Global SVODs such as Netflix and Amazon, which is included in this data, have seen generally lower levels of US fall season acquisitions year-on-year across Show Tracker markets so notwithstanding their own Original production issues, were already expected to acquire less new content in the 2020 fall season from third-party distributors

If production disruption only affects one TV season then buyers may be open to taking content they otherwise wouldn’t consider, such as the many shows cancelled after one season that typically achieve limited international distribution as a result

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