Ampere: Competition-Based Reality TV Shows Defy Industry Viewership Turbulence

Outside of the “Real Wives” franchise, most of competition-based reality TV’s legacy format shows originated outside the U.S., in Western Europe and Asia.

Programs include “The Masked Singer,” “MasterChef,” “The Voice,” “Love Island,” “Bake Off,” “Big Brother,” and “Dancing with the Stars,” among others.

This genre of reality TV is proving to be immune to the decline in commissioning content across wider media industry, according to a new data from Ampere Analysis. While the volume of unscripted titles announced in North America fell by 14% between Jan. – June 2022 and Jan. – June 2023, titles based on competition decreased just 6%.

With competition representing a “safe bet” in a turbulent market, competition-based commissions are decreasingly euro-centric, as global streamers and other non-European commissioners represent an increasing proportion of new shows announced.

Western Europe, and in particular the U.K., still remains the creative engine of competition-based reality TV, including Max’s new dating import, “Naked Attraction,” which showcases completely naked contestants trying to find love.

Between the first half of 2019 and first half 2023, 36% of all competition-based commissions were based on UK shows. However, the emergence of global competitors sees English-language titles represent a decreasing proportion of format-based commissions. While English-language format titles represented 59% of all format-based commissions in H1 2019, this number had dropped to 36% by the same period in 2023.

With 824 titles announced based on its formats between H1 2019 and H1 2023, Asia’s Banijay leads the field with almost twice as many titles than any other owner (ITV Studios was second with 464 titles). Owning a fifth of the top 20 formats globally, the vast catalog includes many titles previously sold by Endemol Shine, acquired by the company in 2020. These include “MasterChef,” “Big Brother,” “The Voice,” “Robinson” (previously Expedition Robinson) and “Lego Masters”.

Although Banijay leads in terms of the total number of titles, most of these do not represent new international versions. Between H1 2019 and H1 2023, 59% of all commissions based on Banijay-owned titles were renewals in existing markets. South Korea’s MBC-owned “The Masked Singer” commissioned in more markets than any other show.

While streamers have a long way to go to compete with more established players in the competition-based reality landscape. VOD commissions made up just 15% of all format-based commissions announced between H1 2019 and H1 2023.

International production capabilities also give global streamers a competitive advantage over their linear TV competitors. While linear commissioners carry out negotiations to import a format from elsewhere, streamers can easily recreate their own formats in multiple markets. Global streamers, Discovery+, Netflix, Amazon, and Discovery+ made up three of the top 15 commissioners of format-based titles between H1 2019 and H1 2023, and VOD commissions represent an increasing proportion of format-based commissions overall.

“With [content] commissioners facing more stringent spending limits, format-based titles offer an opportunity for companies to reduce risk by recreating shows that have a proven track record,” Olivia Deane, senior analyst at Ampere, said in a statement. “Formats also give global commissioners an advantage, as they can easily replicate successful formats in different operating markets. The future will represent unprecedented competition for Western European format owners, as more international and global players increase their focus on format-based titles.”

Digital TV Research: Western Europe to Add 73 Million SVOD Subs by 2027, Driven by U.S. Platforms

Western Europe is projected to reach 238 million subscription streaming video subscribers by 2027, up from 165 million at the end of 2021, according to data analysis from Digital TV Research. The sub growth would largely be driven by six U.S.-based platforms. which will account for 81% of all SVOD subscriptions by 2027.

Netflix will have 62 million subs by 2027 — 3 million more than in 2021. The SVOD pioneer’s subs will remain flat in 2022 due mainly to increased competition. Netflix’s share of the Western Europe subscriber total is projected to fall from 36% in 2021 to 26% by 2027.

Disney+ is projected to have 46 million subs by 2027 — 20 million more than 2021. Newcomer Paramount+/SkyShowtime is projected to add 11 million subs and HBO Max to bring in 5 million.

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Western European SVOD revenue should total $25 billion by 2027 — up from $16 billion in 2021. The United Kingdom will remain the SVOD revenue leader.

“Netflix will slowly lose SVOD revenue as we assume that it will convert its cheapest tier to a lower-priced hybrid AVOD-SVOD tier,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. Murray contends that any SVOD revenue shortfall will be more than covered by newfound AVOD revenue. Netflix will remain the SVOD revenue winner, although its share of the total will fall from nearly 50% in 2021 to 33% in 2027.

“We do not expect many more price rises due to the intense competition,” he said in a statement. “We assume that Disney+ will follow its U.S. example by converting its present tier to a hybrid AVOD-SVOD one and charging more for an SVOD-only tier.”

Paramount+ Launching in U.K., Ireland on June 22; South Korea and Other Select European Countries to Follow

Global rollout of the Paramount+ streaming platform continues, with the erstwhile CBS All Access subscription streaming service launching in the U.K. and Ireland on June 22. A separate launch in South Korea is slated for June, with additional rollouts in Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria set for later this year. The streamer plans to bow in India in 2023.

Paramount+ is bowing in select Western European countries with Comcast-owned satellite TV platform, Sky, as part of an over-the-top video distribution partnership. The app will also be available via Paramount+ app, via Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google, Roku and Samsung streaming TV devices.

“This year will be monumental for our streaming strategy as we accelerate our global ambitions,” Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of international networks, studios and streaming for Paramount Global, said in a statement. “With an already expansive global footprint and a strong, long-term market-by-market strategy, we are well-poised to continue our positive momentum.”

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U.S. Streamers Driving Western European OTT Video Revenue/Subscriber Growth

New and established U.S. subscription streaming video services continue to drive Western Europe over-the-top video revenue growth.

Western European OTT TV episode and movie revenue is projected to reach $45 billion in 2027; up from $26 billion in 2021, according to new data from Digital TV Research. The key countries driving revenue over the next five years include the U.K. with $4 billion, Germany and France with $3 billion each, and Italy with $2 billion.

The U.K. is the largest OTT revenue earner in Western Europe. Its $6 billion in revenue provided 24% of the region’s 2021 total. The U.K.’s $10 billion in 2027 revenue will represent 22% of the region’s total.

Three U.S.-based streaming platforms will not only drive European growth but could also control half the world’s SVOD subscriptions by 2027. Despite its maturity, Netflix is slated to add 60 million subscribers by and 2027.

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Disney+ is projected to overtake Netflix in subscription terms in 2028. Disney+ should add 146 million subscribers by 2027 to take its total to 276 million.

HBO Max is slated to add 65 million subscribers to total 90 million in 2027. Paramount+ [including Sky/Showtime] is projected to increase by 55 million subscribers to reach 88 million by 2027.

“SVOD far exceeds any other revenue source for Western Europe,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “SVOD will increase by $13 billion between 2021 and 2027 to $30 billion. AVOD will add $6 billion to reach $12 billion.”

SVOD subscriptions are projected to reach 258 million by 2027, up from 164 million by end-2021. Four countries would provide two-thirds of the total. Germany would overtake the U.K. in 2026.

As SVOD continues to grow, Western Europe is slated to lose 7 million pay-TV subscribers by 2027 to reach 100 million. Pay-TV subscriber counts would fall for 14 of the 18 Western European countries through 2027. Germany would lose 2 million subs, with the U.K. down by 1.4 million and France nearly 1 million.

“Pay-TV revenue will decline by $5 billion — 18% — between 2021 and 2027 to $22 billion,” Simon said. “The pay-TV subscriber count will drop by 7%, so revenues will fall faster — revealing lower TV ARPUs and less emphasis on TV from the operators. IPTV will overtake satellite TV in 2026 to become the most lucrative platform.”

Sky, ViacomCBS Set to Launch Paramount+ in Western Europe in 2022

Comcast’s satellite TV operator Sky and ViacomCBS International are set to launch the Paramount+ subscription streaming video platform in Western Europe in 2022. The two companies Aug. 18 announced that Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria as part of a new multiyear distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of ViacomCBS’s portfolio of pay-TV channels and the renewal of Sky as an ad sales partner in select markets.

Paramount+ is the latest third-party content app to come to Sky Q, adding more than 10,000 hours of content, and furthering Sky’s strategy congregating access to content in one place.

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“This transformative distribution deal is key to accelerating our global ambitions in streaming while also supporting Sky’s strategic objectives to better serve audiences with greater flexibility in how they consume our content across all platforms,” Raffaele Annecchino, CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a statement.

Upon launch, Sky Cinema subs will get Paramount+ included at no additional cost. As part of this partnership, Paramount Pictures’ feature films will remain available on Sky Cinema in the U.K. and will join Sky Cinema in Germany and Italy in 2022. All other Sky customers will be able to subscribe to Paramount+ as an add-on to their account.

Paramount+ will also be available direct-to-consumer in UK, Ireland, Italy and GSA through the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android and across supported connected TV devices and OTT platforms. Pricing and local content offering will be announced at a later date.

Movies that will become available through 2022 in the U.K., Ireland, Italy and other countries include a collection of scripted, exclusive Paramount+ originals and new takes on film franchises, including HaloThe Offer and the new “iCarly” series. As the international home of Showtime, the service will offer “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “Ripley,” “Super Pumped” and “American Gigolo,” in addition to titles from ViacomCBS, such as “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years,” “Star Trek: Prodigy,” and “MTV Unplugged.” The service will also feature a collection of new premieres and classics from the “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers” movie franchises.

“Paramount+ is an excellent service with a huge range of fantastic films and TV series, and our new, broader agreement with ViacomCBS will benefit both businesses,” said Stephen van Rooyen, EVP and chief executive for U.K. and Europe at Sky.

In addition, ViacomCBS and Sky reached a multiyear extension for carriage of ViacomCBS’s linear channels — including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon — in the U.K., Ireland, Italy and other European countries.

ViacomCBS also renewed its multiyear agreement with Sky as an ad sales partner for all platforms and channels in the U.K. and Italy. Sky Media will continue to handle ad sales across the ViacomCBS portfolio of channels, including Channel 5 in the UK, where ViacomCBS and Channel 5 will benefit from Sky Media’s innovation in addressable advertising.

Report: Western Europe SVOD Subscriptions to Reach 234 Million by 2026

The pending arrival of HBO Max, combined with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, will greatly affect subscription streaming video in Western Europe, according to new data from Digital TV Research. The region featuring Germany, the U.K., France, Portugal, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Italy, Luxemburg, Monaco, Lichtenstein, Belgium and Austria will have 234 million SVOD subs by 2026, up from 137 million subs at the end of 2020.

Despite losing market share, Netflix will remain the largest SVOD platform. Netflix will have 74 million paying European subs by 2026 — up by 20 million from 2020. Disney+ will become the second-largest platform by 2025, surpassing Amazon Prime Video. Now available in most Western European countries, Disney+ will have 55 million paying subs by 2026; up by 36 million on 2020.

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HBO Max will launch in the six countries where it already has operations — the Nordic countries, Portugal and Spain — before the end 2021. However, Max will not start in some key European countries due to existing exclusive contracts. For example, HBO’s contract with Sky in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the U.K. lasts until 2025.

“If Max started across the region’s 18 countries in 2021, we estimate that it would amass 10 million subs by 2026. This will not happen, so its total will be 3.3 million across six countries by 2026,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Analyst: Western Europe to Double SVOD Subs by 2025

Spurred by Netflix, Disney+ and others, Western Europe will have 191 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, more than double from 90 million at the end of 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research. About 35 million subscribers will be added in 2020 alone, with the COVID-19 lockdown having a major effect.

Netflix will remain the largest platform, with 68.49 million paying subs expected by 2025. Despite adding 25 million subs between 2019 and 2025, Netflix will lose market share. How? Disney+, the SVOD platform launched in November 2019 in the U.S., and in Europe earlier this year.

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Disney+ has made a strong and immediate impact, given its brand recognition, low price and impressive content line-up. Disney+ launched in the remainder of Western European countries this month.

“Disney+ will have a huge impact. However, we have downgraded Disney+ since our last forecasts in April,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “After strong early take-up and based on its June results, subscriber growth will decelerate rapidly. We have increased our forecasts for the ‘other’ category due to the wave of launches due from the likes of Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock.”