The proportion of reality titles commissioned by Netflix grew between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the third one of 2020, as Netflix moved reality commissions and releases forward to make up for delays and losses in scripted caused by Covid-19, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.
“Unscripted titles were easier to make under lockdown constraints and quicker to produce than scripted titles, making them ideal for combatting production delays. This exaggerated the increase in the proportion of reality commissions over the first part of 2020, and in turn caused a shortfall in commissioning announcements towards the end of the year,” said Olivia Deane, Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.
However, the first quarter of this year saw Netflix commission the highest proportion of reality titles in its history, with reality in the top three commissioned genres overall, suggesting that the growth in Netflix reality commissions cannot be wholly attributed to the pandemic.
While high-end scripted titles, like sci-fi series “The Witcher” and recent period drama “Bridgerton,” may have generated new subscriptions for Netflix, cheaper to produce reality titles like “Tiger King,” real-estate series “Selling Sunset,” and cooking show “Nailed It!” have also proved highly popular, encouraging the streamer to expand into content that provides a higher potential return on investment.
Netflix is also working to balance its slate of non-English speaking Originals, which have previously been focused on scripted content, by expanding existing popular formats to international markets. Nearly half of all the reality titles ordered by the streamer between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 were produced outside the United States (47%), with 31% of these non-US shows based on existing titles, including “Nailed It!” (Spain, France, Mexico, and Germany), “Queer Eye Brazil” (from the BBC/Lion TV format), “Sing On! Germany” (adapted from the Spanish Netflix format), and “Love is Blind” Brazil.