SVODs leading the way with LGBT+ content

Queer As Folk

SVOD operators around the world are leading the way in commissioning LGBT+ content, according to new research from UK-based analyst group Ampere Analysis.

A report from the group found that between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020, 12 commissioners globally ordered movies or series with LGBT+ themes. Eighty percent of those commissions were destined for on-demand platforms, with public broadcasters such as the UK’s BBC and France Télévisions also favouring on-demand delivery for LGBT+ series.

Linear commissioners were meanwhile more likely to opt for one-off TV specials on LGBT+ topics than commit broadcast slots to long-form series.

One example was HBO Max, which commissioned as many series about LGBT+ people in the last 12 months as HBO’s portfolio of linear channels have in the last three years, with titles including comedy drama series Beth & Sam and Drama Queen.

Peacock’s LGBT+ content, meanwhile, equates to 7% of its entire original commissions slate to date, with three upcoming series – Expecting, Clean Slate and a reboot of British series Queer As Folk.

The report suggests that the reason SVOD operators are so strong in this area is because of the demographic of their audiences, with 18-34-year-olds the most likely to identify as part of, and be accepting of the LGBT+ community and also to be over-indexed for SVOD subscriptions.

Alice Thorpe, analyst at Ampere Analysis, commented: “Netflix and Amazon Prime Video’s originals Orange Is The New Black and Transparent confirmed the appeal of LGBT+ themed content beyond the LGBT+ community. Now queer content is an expected part of new SVoD services’ offerings, as we’ve seen with newly launched platforms like HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi.”

Ampere also found that while both market leaders Netflix and Amazon have seen the proportion of their global TV catalogue that is sourced from US producers decline to around just 30% for both, their LGBT+ content comes overwhelmingly from the States. Netflix’s LGBT+ slate skews 65% US-produced while on Amazon it is 58%.

The report suggests that this is likely due to the risks of producing LGBT+ content overseas, citing the recent cancellation of Netflix original If Only due to the Turkish government’s refusal to grant filming rights to a show featuring a gay supporting character. Ampere does, however, feel that LGBT+ shows resonate across many territories and offer great potential for international distribution.

Thorpe added: “One aspect of LGBT+ content’s specific appeal is its ability to travel across territories and inspire fandom. This allows characters to travel into spin-off series as we’ve seen in Spain and Mexico. The international players are staring to acquire some of this locally produced content and we expect to see more of it on the SVOD platforms in the coming quarters.”

Related