Report: OTT Video Platforms Upping Original Content to Bridge Netflix Divide

With Netflix reportedly spending upwards of $13 billion on original content in 2018, over-the-top video competitors Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Apple and Google-owned YouTube are ratcheting up their content spend in an effort to remain competitive.

Netflix has greenlighted more than 250 original titles – double the output from two years ago as Disney begins to pull original movies from the service for its own OTT ventures, according to Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm said Apple, YouTube Premium (formerly You Tube Red) and Facebook have greenlighted 65 combined original productions, with YouTube slating 50 original shows by the end of 2019.

Upstart OTT video services from Disney, Britbox and WarnerMedia’s DC Universe have disclosed original content forays – including 19 titles from Disney that include spin-offs High School Musical and Monsters Inc.

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and rival BritBox are in a race to stream original British fare to American viewers. Acorn TV just announced a new co-production for “Blood,” a six-part thriller. Other titles include Agatha Christie’s “The Witness for the Prosecution,” “Love, Lies & Records,” and “Striking Out.” It also has exclusive rights to season two of “Jack Irish.”

In April, the company also acquired exclusive digital and home video rights from DCD Rights for Season 2 of the critically-acclaimed mystery series “Jack Irish.”

BritBox, the OTT video service from BBC Studios and ITV, is developing “Dark Heart,” “Three Girls,” “Bancroft,” daytime drama, “Shakespeare & Hathaway,” “Hold the Sunset,” and “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.”

Sony Crackle, the ad-supported OTT video service, original content includes comedy “Accident Park,” and dramas “The Butcher,” “CAPO,” “The Row,” “RPM,” “The Transplant,” and “Tribes,” among others.

“With so much new content being produced across a range of subscription services, [Apple, Facebook, YouTube] are under increasing pressure to create content that not only attracts new audiences but also prevents existing consumers from churning,” analyst Richard Cooper said in a statement.

Specifically, Cooper said OTT players are increasingly opting for niche titles in an effort to differentiate themselves across different genres. Indeed, comedy is the most greenlighted genre, followed by science fiction.

Apple TV’s high-profile content includes a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series “Amazing Stories,” in addition to “Are You Sleeping,” Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”); psychological thriller “Calls”; musical comedy “Central Park,” and “Dickinson,” starring Oscar-winner Hailee Steinfeld.

Ampere said Amazon is focusing on drama for 29% of its originals compared to 17% for Netflix. It said YouTube and Facebook have upped scripted content, with YouTube focusing on youth-orientated comedy.

“They are shying away from reality content with just 6% of new commissions compared to 32% of their current catalog,” Cooper said.

 

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