SVoDs' UK indie spend falls for first time

Investment from likes of Netflix and Amazon slips below £300m

By Marian McHugh 7 Sep 2022

SVoDs' UK indie spend falls for first time
Netflix: Snowflake Mountain

The SVoDs’ spend with British indies slipped for the first time last year to below £300m, according to Pact.

The indie body’s annual census found that spend from the likes of Netflix and Amazon dropped 16% to £299m in 2021, from its high of £356m the previous year.

The decline is the first time that investment from the digital giants has fallen, having grown steadily since at least 2015, when it stood at £63m.

The report attributed the reversal to a push into in-house production and the conclusion of large titles, as well as pandemic-induced delays to drama production.

Pact chief exec John McVay said that he anticipates SVoD investment rebounding in 2022 due to the large number of “big shows” being made by streamers.

“While many domestic broadcasters complain about the big deep pockets of the streamers, they haven’t really been stepping up to the plate in terms of investing,” he added.

The decline was partially offset by an increase in the scale of digital commissions from the PSBs, which were up to £67m from £23m the previous year.

In total, digital orders accounted for 14% of domestic commissioning revenue which hit a record high of £1.9bn. This was up 36% (£506m) from 2020’s pandemic-affected £1.4bn and above the previous high (2013: £1.7bn).

The PSBs were responsible for £1.5bn (77%) of the spend, having invested £1.2bn (84%) the previous year.

The proportion directed into new IP (including revivals), as opposed to returning series, recovered to account for 38% of spend (£720m) from the previous year’s £417m (30%).

ITV overtook the BBC as the biggest investor in new ideas – pumping in £166m (38% of commissioning spend), against its rival’s £155m (27%).

Overall the producers’ survey revealed that total revenues for the sector have nearly returned to their pre-Covid levels, growing by 13% year-on-year to £3.3bn in 2021, just £79m short of 2019’s figure.

This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast, written by Marian McHugh and Alex Farber. 

Image: Snowflake Mountain produced by Naked for Netflix. 

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