July 8, 2019
Seeking to get a jump on competitors in select genres, nearly 20% of Netflix original stand-up comedies and music concerts are released on the streaming service within two months of production, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.
This release strategy contrasts sharply with slow-burn release strategy for scripted dramas, which have an average production period of 13 months from announcement to release.
The report found that 39% of Netflix docs and 64% of reality series were released less than two months after they were first announced.
Children and family content had the longest production period, whether created by Netflix and a single producer, or as a co-production.
Crime, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy productions each took a year to produce, with 25% of crime content released from 13-15 months after announcement.
“Netflix co-productions have a longer average creation time, taking an additional 2.8 months to craft compared to sole Netflix commissioned shows,” Fred Black, analyst and author of the report, said in a statement. “The shortest co-production was announced 109 days before release — by this point, 39 solo Netflix productions had already been released. Drama, documentary, sci-fi and fantasy are the most co-produced genres.”
Ampere found 36% of unscripted Netflix originals were released less than two months after announcement – versus just 7% of scripted titles.
By comparison, over 90% of productions taking 14+ months to release are scripted. Over half of Netflix scripted originals (52%) have taken longer than a year between announcement and release, compared to just 7% of unscripted titles.
Almost all (95%) of the slowest 19 releases were scripted (release after at least 600 days).
At more than two years in production, “Our Planet,” Netflix’s high-budget, David Attenborough-narrated natural history documentary, stands out as an anomaly in the unscripted space. “Magic for Humans” also had a long production period. Italian stand-up special from Edoardo de Carlo took two weeks, while Ellen Degeneres’ special, “Relatable,” was in production for 19 months.
“With competition heating up in the SVOD arena, Netflix is using its ‘surprise drop’ strategy to foil competitors and delay them from copy-catting new content formats,” Black said. “But this is not a simple approach, there are huge variations in the time content takes from announcement to release, based on genre, whether it’s scripted or not and if it’s a sole or co-production.”