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Rights Impact on Second Window Sales


Liam Costello Senior Manager

The number of second window international sales of US scripted series increased in 2020, largely from more acquisitions by Local SVOD services. The launch of Foxtel’s Binge in Australia was a contributor to this growth, with the streaming service acquiring 29 shows - the majority of these titles migrated to the service having had a first window on Foxtel’s Pay TV channels at least one year prior. Had this service not launched with such volumes of content, the total number of second windows would have fallen for the second consecutive year. Amazon Prime is the biggest buyer of second windows in Show Tracker markets, with 38 US series acquired in 2020.

The number of second window acquisitions by broadcast channels decreased year-on-year, most noticeably by Free TV. In the original ten Show Tracker markets there were just 21 Free TV second windows, a decrease from 36 in 2019.

72% of respondents to 3Vision’s forthcoming annual industry trends report believe that limitations in catch-up rights is the biggest consideration for broadcasters when taking second windows. As rights are increasingly front loaded in the first, VOD holdbacks appear to be a major factor and are even more important than potential over-exposure of the target audience from the first window service (52%).

Most noticeable with the diminishing number of Free and Pay TV second windows in 2020 is the number of deals that offered basic catch-up. Broadcasters appear less willing to now take shows with at best rolling 5 episode catch-up. In fact, in 2019 there were 12 second windows that offered no catch-up at all - this decreased in 2020 to just three.

As broadcasters take fewer second windows for their linear channels we are beginning to see the effects of increased OTT focus. Last year there were seven AVOD second windows, with these all acquisitions by broadcaster’s adjacent OTT services.

As more and more value is being placed into first windows it is making subsequent deals much more complex.

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