Disney Leaps Ahead In Original Scripted Content Output

Disney’s commissioned scripted content in North America leapt by 61% in this year’s first three quarters, putting it firmly in the lead over Netflix on this front, according to Ampere Analysis. 

Disney ordered more new scripted content in N.A. by the end of September than in the entire year of 2021, while Netflix’s N.A. commissions dipped by 15%, as it focused on international content development. 

But Disney’s scripted original output also will “vastly” surpass Netflix’s on a global basis this year, Ampere reports. In 2020, Disney was nearly 70 shows behind, and last year, it edged ahead just slightly. 

“With public service broadcasters increasingly pulling back due to budget constraints, subscription video on demand platforms and studios are ramping up scripted output,” comments Ampere Research Manager Fred Black. “At the top of the tree, Netflix is pivoting its originals strategy even further toward international commissions as it searches for subscriber growth. That is allowing Disney to catapult its way to the top of scripted content commissioning via its base in the U.S., leaning on that volume for global content superiority. If Disney can successfully position its global portfolio of streaming services and cable channels in a way that suits consumers, it can claim original content supremacy over incumbent market leader Netflix.” 



Netflix and Disney continue to far outstrip the competition in terms of scripted output.

Globally, Disney’s scripted commissions totaled 181 as of this year’s third quarter — up 28% versus the same period in 2021. 

However, Amazon has recorded the strongest growth among all platforms, surpassing the major studios’ commissioning, with some 76 titles through Q3 (up 33%). 

As a result, WarnerMedia has dropped out of the top three scripted content commissioners’ ranking. Its strategy shift post-merger with Discovery means it is likely to be overtaken by Paramount and Comcast. 

Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount have also reduced U.S. commissioning. Warner Bros. reduced its new scripted series outlay from 44 to 28 in the first three quarters (down 30%), and Paramount reduced from 54 series orders to just 29 (down 46%). 

As a group, mid-size players have shown the greatest development momentum in North America in 2022.

Apple, for instance, is “steadily evolving into a serious scripted player,” notes Ampere. With 32 new series ordered year-to-date, Apple is now the fourth-largest commissioner of scripted content in North America, and one of the global top 10 commissioners of scripted for the first time.  

In Western Europe, traditionally led by public service broadcasters, France TV is currently the largest commissioner of new scripted content, with 40 titles so far this year, roughly level with its output at this stage last year. 

Netflix also has 40 titles year to date, having increased its titles by four versus last year. 

The BBC has fallen to third place as a result of reducing commissioned scripted titles by 20, or 37%, versus the same period in 2021. 

Changes at the major studios active in Europe have resulted in Warner Bros. Discovery reducing its scripted output in Europe by 29% so far this year (15 titles this year versus to 21 in 2021), and Paramount quadrupling its commissioning (27, versus six at this stage last year).

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