Discovery, Inc. was by far the most prolific commissioner of TV shows last year and it extended the lead it established in 2020.
According to research from Ampere Analysis, Discovery commissioned 556 first-run TV titles in 2021, 153 more than second-place ViacomCBS with 406 titles. Netflix came in third with 403 followed by Disney, the BBC and Comcast with 387, 373, and 353 first-run shows respectively.
Discovery could likely extend its lead again in 2022 if the company closes its merger deal with WarnerMedia and adds HBO and Turner to its portfolio. The companies are expecting to close the transaction in the second quarter.
“2022 will see further additions to these content slates, as the studio-backed VOD services continue to expand both their original catalogs and subscriber bases, both domestically and, increasingly, internationally,” said Richard Cooper, research director at Ampere Analysis, in a statement.
Disney, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Netflix and more have plans to expand their content budgets in 2022 and put more money into streaming. Ampere last month said that the push toward streaming helped increase total global content spend past $220 billion in 2021, up 14% year over year.
"In 2022, we expect content investment to exceed $230 billion, primarily driven by subscription streaming services, as the battle in the original content arena intensifies – both in the U.S., but also in the global markets which are increasingly key for growth,” said Hannah Walsh, research manager at Ampere Analysis, in a statement.
Ampere said that Netflix will release most of its 243 in-production TV titles in 2022, which will increase the company’s overall slate of original releases to more than 2,000 titles not including original films.
Legacy media companies are responding by steering more original content toward their own streaming platforms. Ampere said that among all the TV shows currently being produced by Disney, 58% are now originals for Disney+. WarnerMedia follows with 85 titles for HBO Max, representing 48% of the shows it currently has in production, and titles for streaming platforms make up 39% and 28% of the current slates for ViacomCBS and Comcast, respectively.