TBI Tech & Analysis: What’s next for US content spend after the strikes?

(Source: CC Vincentas Liskauskas (Unsplash))

With the US actors’ and writers’ strikes having come on top of an existing fall in programming spend, Omdia’s Tim Westcott and Matthew Evenson consider the ongoing impact on Hollywood production spend.

The strike by the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ unions may have been settled, but the full impact of the level of production investment in the US was still unknown when this report was written. The after-effects will last into 2024, with those programmes stopped in pre-production or production worst hit. For some TV shows, launch will be delayed to 2025.

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The 2023/24 season for the US networks was uniquely lacking in new scripted programming, with only 17 new and returning scripted titles launching compared to 75 the year before. But the strikes just aggravated an existing trend for the US networks, which were already gradually reducing original commissions. The networks launched 113 new scripted titles in 2018/19 but have reduced commissions every season since.

The networks may now be just one part of a landscape where cable networks and direct-to-consumer platforms have also been awash with original programming, but with companies like The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery making heavy cuts to their investment, the effects of the decline in TV production will be widespread.

North America accounts for 52% of world program spend, so the impact will be global. However, opportunities will arise for other industries not affected by the strikes. The US streamers are said to be more open to co-productions and to allowing partners a larger share of the pie. Even if they are buying more-limited geographical rights, their investments will still be crucial.

The excerpt above comes from Omdia’s ‘2024 Trends to Watch: Digital Content & Channels’, by Tim Westcott, Senior Principal Analyst, Digital Content & Channels, and Matthew Evenson, Research Analyst, Media & Entertainment, which can be read in full here. Omdia and TBI are both part of Informa Tech.

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