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Unscripted Genre Sees Major Boost in New Global Trends Study

Stephanie Sengwe

A new study by Ampere Analysis has found that people are tuning to unscripted programming now more than ever. As we are all forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus crisis, audiences across the globe are looking to unscripted programming to take the edge off.

According to the study, drama maintains the number one spot across projects commissioned globally, with more than 500 projects currently in development. However, documentaries aren’t not too far behind, with 350 titles in the works. An analysis of Netflix’s TV acquisition from June to December 2019 shows the streamer acquired 32 hours of documentary programming month to month “versus high-volume and high-variability acquisitions in genres such as children’s content (172 hours) and romance (182 hours), which indicate just a handful of package deals,” Variety stated.

Ampere also found that between December 2018 and December 2019, unscripted projects in development across 160 streaming services increased from 24 percent to 51 percent, with assistance from social and short-form platforms such as Quibi and Facebook. However, the number dipped among a sample of 650 linear players, going from 44 percent to 41 percent over the same period of time.

“This gives us a clue as to where Netflix is focusing its acquisitions strategy,” stated Ampere research director Guy Bisson. “It also tells us how streaming strategies (are) evolving in terms of production and development cycles. We can see very clearly that global streaming platforms are increasingly commissioning unscripted content, while linear platforms and channels are reducing the proportion of their (unscripted) commissioning.”

The study comes out only a day after it was reported that Netflix docu-series “Tiger King” is currently the most popular TV show across the board, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The show currently holds a 97 percent critic’s rating and a 96 percent audience score on the site, putting it ahead of “Ozark,” USA Network’s “Queen of the South” and USA’s “The Sinner.”

According to Variety, the topsy turvy show is currently the number one most-watched title in the U.S. for March 29 both overall and among TV shows on Netflix. The show has also maintained a slot in the top 10 for the past week.

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