Top 10 Show Tracker Data Stories From 2022
Jack Thomas Manager
2022 sought to outdo the years that preceded it, with any sense of a new status quo forming in the content industry being shattered by new and ongoing challenges. While some studios continued their all-in approach to vertical integration, others instead paused service rollouts or withdrew them entirely from certain international markets.
The pandemic boom of subscribers for SVOD services quickly faltered under the pressures of an economic downturn, forcing even the titans of Netflix to take drastic strategic steps to appeal to its shareholders.
Throughout the year 3Vision has used data from its Show Tracker service to analyse how the year’s events have affected the distribution and commissioning market for scripted series. These are the insights from 2022 that resonated most with industry executives.
10. Disney+ Lands in South Africa
Disney+ expanded to over 50 more territories in 2022. Its arrival in South Africa inevitably led to a small spike in vertical integration in a market traditionally immune to this kind of activity due to the prominence of Multichoice as a buyer. Multichoice still took the SVOD’s launch as an opportunity and, like many other Pay TV operators, struck a deal to bundle a subscription to Disney+ in their DStv offers.
9. Book Adaptations on the Rise
Show Tracker is being further enhanced every year and one of its many new features in 2022 was the adaptation field, which tracks the IP origin for all of Show Tracker’s 1,600+ series. Trend analysis of this data showed how series adapted from books have seen a meteoric rise over the past six years.
8. StarzPlay’s Potential Acqusition
While the Starz split off from Lionsgate didn’t manage to happen in 2022, analysis of data within Show Tracker revealed the growing split in the distribution of Lionsgate content. The distribution arm continued to get more involved with non-Starz commissions in the US, selling these to third parties, while still vertically integrating Starz commissions onto StarzPlay internationally. This strategy helped make both Lionsgate and Starz less reliant on each other, allowing both to potentially flourish separately from each other until our next most-read story…
7. The Retreat of Lionsgate+
After a quick rebrand from StarzPlay to Lionsgate+ (coincidently announced the very same day MGM rebranded Epix to MGM+) the SVOD began to be pulled from seven major international markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, the Nordics and Japan. Show Tracker revealed how active Lionsgate+ (FKA StarzPlay) had been in these markets but more importantly the opportunity their hasty withdrawal held for both buyers and distributors.
6. The Streamer Shakeup in India
India obviously remains an incredibly important market for streamers and nowhere is this more obvious in the number of Indian originals produced by both Netflix and Amazon. Disney’s acquisition of Star India allowed them to evolve Hotstar into an even more valuable proposition for subscribers, but the loss of the streaming rights for The Indian Premier League (IPL) to Viacom18’s Voot represents a huge threat to the SVOD’s subscriber numbers.
5. SVOD eyeing more Procedurals
Procedural dramas have long been a staple of Free TV schedules, providing reliable series that attract numbers both at the premiere and in the many re-runs that follow. In recent years however, Show Tracker revealed that an increasing number of brand new procedurals were instead premiering on SVOD services, alongside many tentpole libraries of the genre that were made available on-demand by studios on their own services.
4. Paramount+ UK Push
The launch of Paramount+ in the UK could pose an existential threat to Sky, considering how much of its Sky Atlantic cata on Showtime series. While the service has premiered many Paramount-distributed titles that would otherwise be destined for Sky services, the Pay TV operator has taken advantage of the opportunity to bundle the service for subscribers of its Cinema package. Of course, this is only one form of the relationship between Comcast (Sky) and Paramount in Europe, as outside Sky markets we instead saw the launch of SkyShowtime, an SVOD joint venture between these two studios.
3. ITVX makes the Broadcaster Digital First
The ambitious step from ITV that sought to elevate its catch-up service to a fully-fledged AVOD, SVOD and FAST platform launched in the UK in December. Back when it was announced we examined how the service’s lofty content goals would likely affect the relationship ITV Studios has with ITV’s rival broadcasters and the UK commissioning landscape at large. The acquisition of BritBox in the UK by ITV Studios is another quick step to providing many more titles to the ITVX Premium offering.
2. ZDF’s Co-Production Strategy
ZDF continued to gain traction in Show Tracker in 2022 thanks to a continued interest in the acquisition of English language series and more pivotally an increase in their co-commissioning. Through this work ZDF was able to bring high-budget HBO Max series such as ‘The Tourist’ and ‘Theodosia’ onto their channel in Germany, a strategy piquing the interest of more and more local buyers who struggle to acquire premium content from studios that have favoured vertical integration in the past couple of years.
1. Digital AVOD Starts to Threaten Everyone
Digital AVOD services began their transformation from a home for library content to fully fledged platforms in 2022, with most of the first window appearances coming not from acquisitions, but from their own digital originals. The threat this poses Free TV has already sparked different strategies in response from broadcasters (such as those of ZDF or ITV) but looking ahead to 2023 some AVOD services may be able to challenge some of their SVOD counterparts too. A loss of Netflix subscribers and concerning levels of ARPU recorded by both the likes of Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery have resulted in all three of these SVOD services offering lower-priced ad-tiers of their subscriptions to users.
All of these stories were powered by Show Tracker, with the latest data released monthly for subscribers to interrogate directly or through our Online Tool. This data drives all the insights we have brought you this year and helps our clients draw their own every day, informing and enhancing their distribution or acquisition strategies.