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The Good News For TV Drama Producers Is That The Bad News Might Be Coming To An End: Global Content Spend Tipped To Return To Growth in 2024 — Berlinale Series Market

The bad news might coming to an end…. and at this point that counts as good news for the global TV drama business, analysts say.

Laying down the stats at the Berlinale Series Market, Ampere Analysis’ Richard Broughton declared that overall spending on TV content will increase this year after stalling in 2023. “This is particularly good, well not bad, news for drama, which has felt the brunt of spending cuts,” he said.

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Overall global content spend, including sports rights, was flat last year at $243 billion, Ampere said. Drilling down into total shows, drama was hit particularly hard – the number of commissions in the last three months of 2023 fell between 30-40% on the peak in the fourth quarter of 2020.

But drama execs were instructed not to abandon hope. Ampere is forecasting an uptick in global content spend in 2024, taking the total to $247 billion. That includes original shows, acquired product and sports rights.

Globally, Broughton said, broadcasters are accounting for a greater proportion of first-run commissions as the SVoDs cool their scripted spending.

Streamers represented all of the top six commissioners last year, in terms of the number of new scripted projects in the period from the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023​. “By the same period a year later, only Netflix and Amazon remain in the top new scripted commissioners,” Broughton reported. That shift saw Disney+ exit the roster of leading commissioners by volume and pubcasters France Télévisions, Germany’s ARD and the UK’s BBC enter the top five​.

On the ground

The human impact of the drama downturn has been borne out in chats with drama producers here at the Berlinale Series Market. The locals are reeling from Sky’s decision to pull the plug on German originals. Paramount+ moving away from commissioning locally in significant volume is another blow.

The film festival had built a notable TV sidebar that proved popular with international scripted creatives and execs and locals alike. It has, however, scaled back its TV activity this year – with the inevitable result that fewer TV folk are in town.

There are some big names in conference sessions, including several who have travelled from the U.S., and the screenings strand is full, but with new leadership at the Berlinale, and events such as Seriencamp gaining ground, the role of TV in future editions of the Berlin Film Festival is simply not known.

This year’s festival ends February 25.

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