Broadcasters facing content drought in coronavirus hangover

Broadcasters are potentially facing long-term scheduling headaches with more than half of scripted TV shows facing delays.

According to a new report from Ampere Analysis, the underlying effects of production shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

The research firm estimates that in the second half of 2020, top TV commissioners will release between 5-10% fewer new scripted titles on a monthly basis than previously predicted. The effect will last into the first half of 2021, and potentially longer.

It goes on to add that over half of scripted titles which would normally have released in the second half of 2020 are at risk of delays in release schedules due to the current production hiatus.

On a more positive note, titles scheduled to be released between June and August are unlikely to be affected too seriously, with most of these already being in post-production at the time of the shutdown.

Despite this, Netflix had previously stated with confidence that it won’t run out of content in 2020, with its slate unaffected by the pandemic – though the streamer is apparently the exception to the rule.

The report goes onto claim that between 5-10% of scripted titles expected to be released in the autumn months are likely to be lost never to see the light of day.

Unscripted content is predicted to weather the storm, with schedules expected to return to normal by the autumn. However, the report notes that the loss of top shows likeLove Islandand The Bachelorettewill have a knock-on effect on their broadcasters.

Fred Black, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, said: “Initially, we expect delays to cause gaps in scripted TV release schedules, which broadcasters and streaming players will have to fill with other content. However, as delayed productions begin to fill out content gaps in later months, these gaps will begin to close.

“But this has further ramifications. The knock-on effect of delayed releases is a likely depression of the number of new commissions for some time after the shutdown ends, as commissioners look to fill schedules with delayed projects they have already invested in before signing off new ones.”

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