Global streaming services are set to increase investment in original titles to surpass $27bn in 2023, constituting more than a quarter of total original content expenditure worldwide. In a competitive market, this growing focus placed by streamers on compelling original content is being driven by investments in key Scripted genres.
Scripted TV series remain the focal point of investment in original content, with almost 90% of SVoD commissioning spend channelled towards high-budget Scripted shows. Crime & Thriller titles command the largest share of budgets, with 24% of original spend allocated to returnable Crime thrillers that appeal to subscribers across age groups and are highly portable across borders. Additionally, Sci-Fi & Fantasy receives a significant share of original spend, with titles such as Netflix's Stranger Things and The Witcher, as well as Disney+'s franchise spin-offs (including Andor and The Mandalorian) driving consumer engagement and subscriber acquisition.
While Scripted programming remains the bedrock of investment, there has been recent growth in Unscripted commissioning, with the number of Unscripted projects from global SVODs rising by 35% in 2022. Although True Crime documentaries have traditionally been the central focus of its Unscripted output, Netflix has also shown interest in social experiment and dating Reality titles such as The Circle and Love is Blind, as well as testing the appetite for live streaming among its subscriber base with live Comedy specials.
Despite the growing interest in Unscripted, it still represents a relatively small part of the overall content budget for most streaming platforms. Nonetheless, as the competition in the streaming industry continues to grow, platforms must continue to explore cost-effective Unscripted formats to keep audiences engaged, emphasizing the importance of balancing quality and affordability in optimising content strategies.