Big Media Content Spend Forecast To Rise Just 1% In 2023: Analyst

Streaming content spend -- which has seen rapid increases and which drives overall media spending on TV shows and movies -- is now slowing down, estimated to climb just 1% this year to $136.4 billion, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

This comes after a number of years of double-digit growth -- up 14% in 2022 and 25% in 2021.

“As more companies shift their focus to the path to DTC profitability and rebuilding free cash flow, we would expect industry content spending to be relatively flat or even decline in the out years,” says Robert Fishman, media analyst, for MoffettNathanson.

MoffettNathanson projects two major companies will see declines in spending this year: NBCUniversal to $22.5 billion (from $22.9 billion a year ago) and Warner Bros. Discovery to $18.4 billion (from $19.0 billion). Others will climb.



Walt Disney will lead all big media companies -- estimated to hit $26.4 billion, followed by NBCUniversal at $22.5 billion, Warner Bros Discovery at $18.4 billion, Paramount at $18.4 billion and Netflix at $15.2 billion.

Those under the $10 billion mark include Amazon, at $8.5 billion and Apple, at $6.1 billion.

Disney also leads when it comes to streaming content spend -- at 42% of all its spend. Warner Bros. Discovery is next with 35%, followed by Paramount at 25% and NBC with 14%.

But Fishman cautions that there is plenty of overlap between streaming and traditional distribution of content.

“The line between content spend on D2C [direct to consumer] and other segments can quickly become blurry when content appears on multiple platforms,” he writes. “While we use company disclosures in conjunction with our own estimates, we still don’t have great clarity on how some of the big-ticket items are allocated, namely NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football’ on Peacock or CBS’s NFL games on Paramount.”

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