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Speeding Up with Unscripted TV: The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

As the curtain rises on MIPTV 2024 in Cannes, industry experts and enthusiasts gather to delve into the latest trends and innovations shaping the world of television. Among the myriad of topics being discussed, unscripted TV stands out as a perennial favorite, capturing the attention of audiences and industry professionals alike. At allrites, we're excited to offer our unique perspective on this evergreen format, exploring the evolution of unscripted programming and its impact on viewers, content creators and buyers, and advertisers alike.

Tom Cruise, An Eternal Youth on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

From Pandemic Comfort to Psychological Fascination

In late 2021, unscripted TV reached a new peak, claiming over a quarter of all shows on the biggest streaming platforms. This surge was driven by the global pandemic, as audiences, confined to their homes, eagerly sought out new and engaging content. Unscripted TV, with its genuine stories from real life, became a favorite, offering a refreshing break from the everyday and a bit of unexpected joy during those challenging times.

Yet, the tide is turning in the world of unscripted TV. The availability of these shows on major streaming services has fallen to about 24%, the lowest in three years. Despite this drop in production and availability, there hasn't been an oversupply issue. On platforms like Peacock, the number of unscripted shows perfectly matches audience demand. The story is different on FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) channels, where there's a bigger appetite for unscripted content than what's available. Warner Brothers stands out, with only about 20% of its FAST channels being based on scripted offerings, highlighting that a demand for content differs on various monetization models.

Why do we find unscripted TV so captivating? The appeal of unscripted TV is deeply rooted in psychological principles. It provides viewers with a window into the lives of ordinary individuals, showcasing their day-to-day experiences, struggles, and successes in a manner that resonates on a personal level. This connection stems from an innate human curiosity about the lives of others, a phenomenon well-documented in psychological research. Additionally, the allure of potentially achieving fame overnight taps into psychological motivations related to aspiration and recognition. Just like how Camila Cabello rose to fame after her stint on The X-Factor, these shows offer a glimpse into the transformative power of media exposure.

A otro Nivel on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

Documentaries in Demand: Catering to Diverse Audiences

In the realm of unscripted television, documentaries have emerged as the reigning champion in recent years. As of the end of 2023, they stand as the most in-demand unscripted genre, experiencing a staggering 44% increase in popularity since 2021. However, despite this surge in demand, the supply of documentaries seems to outweigh it, indicating a potentially saturated market.

One of the key strengths of documentaries lies in their versatility and broad appeal across different demographics. Unlike more narrowly focused genres like action or romcoms, which may cater predominantly to specific gender or age groups, documentaries have the capacity to captivate a wide range of viewers. For instance, while action films may be more appealing to men and romcoms to women, documentaries encompass themes and topics that can resonate with diverse audiences.

Consider the array of themes explored within the top-performing documentaries of 2022, as highlighted by Parrot Analytics. Ranging from sports and celebrities (“Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”’) to science (“Prehistoric Planet”) and true crime (“Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”), these documentaries traverse a broad spectrum of subjects. This diversity not only speaks to the expansive potential of the genre but also underscores its ability to engage viewers across various interests and backgrounds.

Origin of the Species on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

Unscripted TV in the Shadow of Industry Strikes

The recent strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have sparked significant discussion within the entertainment industry. While much attention has been focused on the potential impact on scripted content, the effects on unscripted TV may not be as straightforward as one might assume.

Firstly, it's worth noting that most unscripted content won’t be adversely affected by the strikes. In fact, historical precedent suggests that strikes can sometimes have a positive impact on unscripted TV. The strike of 2007-2008, for instance, saw certain unscripted shows extended due to the lack of scripted titles. This indicates that unscripted programming can adapt and thrive in the absence of scripted content.

However, the landscape of unscripted TV is evolving, and the outcomes of previous strikes may not necessarily be replicated in the current scenario. The term "unscripted" itself can be misleading, as many shows in this genre do involve scripted elements and may even employ writers who are members of the WGA. A prime example of this is one of the longest-running American quiz show "Jeopardy!".

Furthermore, with the rise of streaming video on demand (SVOD) platforms, the traditional reliance on a tight programming schedule has diminished. Unlike broadcast and cable networks, streaming platforms can largely rely on their existing content libraries even during a strike.

Nevertheless, while unscripted TV may not heavily rely on WGA writers and A-list cast members, the combination of these two strikes is likely to have a significant impact on the entertainment industry as a whole, with some ramifications extending to the realm of unscripted programming. As negotiations continue and the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the landscape of unscripted TV will be shaped by these developments.

Gastro Blast on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

Family Bonding and Nostalgia: The Multi-Generational Appeal of Unscripted Content

In today's digital age, children's television consumption habits are rapidly evolving, with a significant portion of young viewers gravitating towards unscripted reality TV. Recent statistics reveal that a staggering 63% of children aged 4 to 6 reportedly tune in to at least one hour of reality TV programming each day. This trend is indicative of a broader shift in the landscape of children's entertainment, driven by a combination of factors.

One key factor contributing to the rise of unscripted kids' entertainment is the intersection of demand and supply dynamics. Unlike traditional animated titles, unscripted shows featuring real children are often more cost-effective to produce. This affordability factor has prompted content creators to explore the realm of unscripted programming, thereby expanding the variety of options available to young viewers.

Moreover, the appeal of unscripted content extends beyond just the younger demographic. In an era where family bonding experiences are highly valued, adults are increasingly seeking out content that they can enjoy alongside their children. Phil Breman, head of live-action series development at Mattel Television, points to the success of shows like "Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge" as a prime example. This engaging program not only captivates children but also invokes a sense of nostalgia for adults who grew up with the iconic Barbie brand.

The trend of co-viewing, where adults watch content together with kids, has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. According to surveys, a staggering 94% of adults have reported engaging in co-viewing activities with children over the past 12 months. This phenomenon represents a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach a larger and more diverse audience.

For advertisers, co-viewing presents an attractive proposition for maximizing the impact of their marketing efforts. By strategically placing advertisements within unscripted kids' programming, advertisers can leverage the shared viewing experience to effectively engage both children and adults. Additionally, the wide reach of co-viewing audiences ensures that advertisers can achieve greater exposure and brand recognition.

Sahara on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

Crafting Seamless Integration: Uniting Advertising with Unscripted Programming

Speaking of advertisers, it's interesting to note that viewers are increasingly accepting of a higher frequency of advertisements during their viewing experience, often deeming it a "reasonable amount," according to marketers. This acceptance is closely tied to the relevance of the advertisements being shown. When an ad seamlessly integrates into the viewing experience and aligns with the content being consumed, it tends to be less intrusive and more engaging for the viewer.

Unscripted TV presents a unique opportunity for advertisers to deliver relevant ads effortlessly. The nature of unscripted programming allows for easy categorization by genres and interests, such as cooking shows, fashion competitions, travel documentaries, and more. This categorization enables advertisers to tailor their advertisements to match the specific themes and topics explored within each program, enhancing the overall viewing experience for audiences.

Furthermore, the emergence of shoppable ads has revolutionized the way viewers interact with advertisements. With just a click of a button, viewers can now directly engage with, and purchase products featured in their favorite unscripted TV shows. This seamless integration of commerce into the viewing experience not only provides viewers with immediate gratification but also allows advertisers to track and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns in real-time.

In essence, the convergence of relevant advertising and unscripted TV programming presents a win-win scenario for both viewers and advertisers. By delivering targeted ads that resonate with audiences' interests and preferences, advertisers can effectively capture the attention of viewers and drive meaningful engagement.

Broke A$$ Game Show Series 2 on allrites. Speeding Up with Unscripted TV - The FAST Track to Entertainment Innovation

As MIPTV 2024 unfolds, unscripted TV takes the spotlight. Its pandemic-driven surge, enduring appeal, and versatility shape the entertainment landscape. With seamless ad integration, it offers new avenues for engagement. In essence, unscripted TV promises a dynamic future, marked by creativity and connection. At allrites, we're dedicated to facilitating this future, assisting content buyers with a wide range of rights licensing for international unscripted content and beyond, ensuring a seamless and efficient process for all involved.


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