TBI Tech & Analysis: Unpacking Netflix & Amazon’s European drama plans


WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal are ramping up competition in an already crowded streaming ecosystem in Europe. Tim Westcott, senior analyst for research powerhouse (and TBI sibling) Omdia, reveals how the production plans for incumbents Netflix and Amazon are shaping up.

According to research by Omdia, Netflix will launch at least 107 titles produced in Europe in 2021 (our research includes only projects already announced and may change).

According to research by Omdia, Netflix will launch at least 107 titles produced in Europe in 2021 (our research includes only projects already announced and may change). The UK with 18 titles, Spain with 19, and France with 15 are out in front.

Out in front is Spain with 19 shows, the UK with 18 titles, and France with 15. The streamer is focusing on building on the strong position it has in these markets and on developing content that works for it around the world.

Sex Education, La Casa De Papel, Elite and Lupin have all performed well outside the markets where they originated – according to PlumResearch, La Casa De Papel was the most-viewed series on Netflix worldwide in the third quarter of 2021, with 112 million viewings.

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Space mission

In 2018, Netflix launched its first European production hub in Tres Cantos near Madrid in partnership with Spanish company Grupo Secuoya. An extension is now being built that will double the number of sets and expand post-production.

In the UK, Netflix set up a permanent production base at Shepperton Studios near London in 2019, and this year, it signed a long-term lease at Longcross Studios, also outside the UK capital. The company says it will invest more than $1bn in the UK on new series and films this year.

Netflix very rarely makes acquisitions (of companies as opposed to rights) but has made three in the UK: comic book publisher Millarworld, a majority interest in Broke and Bones (a company formed by Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones), and this year The Roald Dahl Story Company.

According to our research, the streamer is producing in a total of 15 countries this year, including the Nordic counties, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Turkey, with its first original dramas in Portugal and Russia. Scripted drama and comedy feature most prominently, but there are also children’s series, documentaries, and reality shows.

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Amazon’s approach

The retail giant is well behind Netflix in terms of original production but Amazon is following a different path to Netflix, gradually extending its portfolio of live sports rights from the UK to France, Germany, and Italy.

It has also rolled out its AVOD service, IMDBtv.com, to the UK. With 39 European titles released or in the works this year, Amazon is making serious investments in content. It has production offices in all five of the major countries and so far has focused most of its origination there.

European originals include scripted dramas and comedies and more unscripted content than Netflix, including versions of LOL – Last One Laughing in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Amazon has also regularly coproduced series with local partners including the BBC, and the public broadcaster’s investment in BritBox does not seem to have led to it breaking off relationships with the streamers.

Coproduced shows include A Very British Scandal with the BBC, Leonardo with Italy’s Rai and Sony, and We Children From Bahnhof Zoo with NENT Group. (Netflix has also co-produced with European partners including the BBC, Mediaset, and SVT).

The excerpt above is from World TV Production Landscape Report – 2021, written by Omdia’s senior principal analyst for digital content & channels, Tim Westcott. To find out more about the production plans of the world’s biggest streamers and to read the report in full (via subscription), click here.

Tags: Amazon, Netflix, OMDIA

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