Production Delays for Scripted Shows Could Run into 2021, Says Ampere

(Image credit: Netflix)

LONDON—It could be awhile before we see new seasons of popular shows like “Stranger Things,” as Ampere Analysis highlights that scripted TV shows are currently facing greater COVID-related production delays than unscripted content, and that genre also plays a factor into just how long these shows may take to get to air.

As many productions are adapting to the new realities of on-set production that adhere to COVID safety protocols, unscripted content has been able to adapt to new production circumstances faster than scripted because of their shorter overall production time—two months compared to 11, on average. This will likely mean that many scripted programs will be facing delays well into 2021.

Things can differ depending on genre. Ampere reports that scripted dramas or romances can often be expedited, but for genres with lengthy post-production periods, like sci-fi, action-adventure or horror, it is expected to have an impact on when they can wrap things up.

“COVID-19 has hit the production of high-quality, scripted content most severely, and producers will be fighting delays well into 2021,” said Olivia Deane, analyst at Ampere Analysis. “Linear programmers know that viewers won’t accept poor quality content and repeats indefinitely, and they will lose consumers to both broadcast and on-demand competitors if they don’t address the situation fast.”

As a result of this delay, the amount of unscripted programs has risen during the pandemic. The percentage of unscripted evening and primetime programs in the U.S. and U.K. has recovered and surpassed (nearly 30%) of what it was pre-COVID, while scripted content has yet to make it back to its pre-COVID levels.

(Image credit: Ampere Analysis)

Ampere also sees an opportunity for independent studios that have scripted projects already in the pipeline, but it may be hard to meet the demand for new content as these indies still face their own delays. 

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