While the long-term effects of the writers' strike could result in a major hit on linear TV networks this TV season-- some of which was revealed as last week’s celebrity-lacking upfront presentations -- streamers' platforms could be dealt a similar blow due to platforms' heavy reliance on scripted original content.
Diesel Labs, a content research company, found that 64% of all nine major premium streaming platforms’ TV and movie programming releases in 2022 were scripted (and 36% unscripted). Diesel Labs measures engagement and programming volume.
The biggest individual premium platform is Netflix. Seventy-six percent of its 749 released titles were scripted content (24% unscripted content). Unscripted content is defined as reality, game show, documentary, docuseries and/or special genres.
Diesel Labs said specific titles helped provide major audience engagement “lift” for their overall platforms.
For example, Amazon Prime got a 9.5% gain from “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”. HBO Max made a nearly 8% jump in total engaged audience from “House of the Dragon.” Peacock jumped 6.3% from the “2022 Winter Olympics. Paramount+ gained 7.3% from "Halo."
After Netflix, Amazon Prime Video was next. Sixty-seven percent of 126 titles released in 2022 were scripted, while 33% were unscripted.
Diesel Labs analysts examined the value of specific scripted programming: “One factor complicating the [writer’s] negotiations is understanding the true ROI [return on investment] of content, especially in a subscription economy for media."
The analysis adds: “With most distributors not disclosing viewership and/or subscribership results for programming, it begs the question of how various titles contribute to the bottom line.”
One premium platform seems to be the least affected -- Discovery+, where 11% of its 91 titles were scripted last year, while 88% were unscripted.
For virtually all of its existence Discovery Networks, as well as Scripps Networks Interactive -- including Food Network, HGTV, and others (which Discovery bought in 2018) unscripted programming -- have been at the center of its and other cable TV networks groups’ operations.
Last year, Apple TV+ had the highest percentage of scripted content -- 79%, though off of a smallest base of releases, 56 titles.
Mid-level streamers -- Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock -- were roughly in the 55% to 60% share range for scripted titles. HBO/HBO Max scripted content is at a 48% share of all that it did in 2022 (106 titles).