TV’s big spending era is headed for a slump

According to research firm Ampere, global content investment is expected to close out at US$242 billion in 2023, a measly 2% annual increase that represents the slowest growth in a decade.
January 5, 2023

After a year of big spending on content, the industry is about to tighten its belt in 2023, predicts UK-based media analysis firm Ampere.

Global content spend for the year is expected to increase by just 2% to around US$242 billion, primarily driven by SVODs (a segment that collectively spent more than US$26 billion on original content in 2022). And while that’s a big number, it’s the smallest year-over-year increase in more than a decade, says Ampere. For comparison’s sake, last year’s spend was up 6% across all platforms, compared to 2021.

Reductions in consumer spending on entertainment and in revenue from advertising could very well lead some broadcasters and platforms to spend less on content.In fact, Netflix has openly stated this intention already, Ampere notes.

That said, original content should still be a fixture for buyers because it’s a primary market differentiator. But Ampere says we may also see an increased spend on cheaper content such as unscripted programming.

Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are expected to be the biggest spenders this year. Disney could hit US$10.5 billion, while WBD may invest more than US$9.5 billion. Ampere also predicts that WBD as a combined entity will overtake Comcast, which is perennially one of the biggest spenders (and is pegged to spend more than US$8 billion in 2023). It’s anticipated that Netflix will be responsible for more than 25% of the total original content spend by SVODs globally, at just under US$8 billion.

Commercial broadcasters are also going to be cutting back. Still feeling the effects of declining TV ad revenue and a viewing shift to streaming platforms, these companies are expected to spend 3% less on content collectively. They spent US$102 billion on content (original, acquired and sports rights) in 2023, in 2023 they’re expected to spend US$98.9 billion.

Ampere’s research did not break out programming genres, so it’s difficult to say what the impact will be on the kids entertainment specifically.

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