Discovery Leads in Original Programming

(Image credit: Discovery)

LONDON—According to a new report from Ampere Analysis, Discovery was the greatest global commissioner of TV shows in 2021, with a record-breaking 556 first-run TV titles commissioned during the year. This extends Discovery’s lead of 46, recorded in 2020, to 153 titles by the end of 2021.

ViacomCBS came in second with 406 titles barely beating out Netflix’s 403. Three other contenders—Disney, the BBC and Comcast—came close with 387, 373, and 353 first-run shows respectively. This group of six pulled further ahead of their global rivals through 2021, with each supporting the expansion of their own SVoD services. WarnerMedia also accelerated throughout the year, but not enough to rank in the top six Ampere said.

(Image credit: Ampere Analysis)
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Ampere added that in order for Discovery to keep its lead will depend on how many of its commissioned shows not yet released are in-production. Discovery’s typical commissions (largely documentaries) have a shorter production timescale and are lower cost and less high-profile than titles on Netflix’s still predominantly scripted slate, the research firm said.

Netflix plans to release most of its 243 in-production TV titles in 2022 (with an additional 106 movies), which will increase the streamer’s overall slate of original releases to over 2,000 titles. Ampere said its  figures for 2021 exclude Netflix’s growing SVoD movie slate and combined, they have commissioned 74 movie titles specifically for SVoD. However, adding Netflix’s 203 commissioned movies in 2021 would push the global streamer into first place, albeit via a less direct comparison, Ampere added.

Ampere says its research clearly illustrates that the networks are laser-focused on their streaming properties. Among all the TV shows currently being produced by Disney, 58% are now Originals for its streaming platform, Disney+. WarnerMedia follows closely behind with 85 titles for HBO Max, representing 48% of the shows it currently has in production. Titles destined for VoD make up 39% of ViacomCBS’s current slate and 28% of Comcast’s.

“2022 will see further additions to these content slates, as the studio-backed VoD services continue to expand both their original catalogues and subscriber bases, both domestically and, increasingly, internationally,” said Richard Cooper, Research Director at Ampere Analysis. 

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.