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An Industry Transformed: Four Emerging Trends in Film & TV

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Four Emerging Trends in Film & TV

In 2020, the Film & TV industry experienced unprecedented growth. Amidst the global pandemic, audience demand for streaming services surged, production spending grew, and TV series budgets reached all-time highs.

The industry’s growth isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon and with the recent slew of media mergers, even more change is on the horizon.

What key developments in the Film & TV industry are worth paying attention to? Based on research compiled by Purely Streamonomics, here’s a look at the four emerging trends that could revolutionize the industry as we know it.

#1: Uptick in New Streaming Platforms

As worldwide lockdown measures drove people indoors, audience demand for home entertainment surged.

Between 2019-2020, the number of global online video subscriptions increased by 26%, reaching 1.2 billion subscriptions. This growth is expected to continue in the coming years—in fact, by 2025, subscriptions are expected to reach 1.6 billion worldwide.

In tandem with this growing audience demand, new streaming platforms are entering the market at an accelerated pace. 2020 welcomed four new subscription video on demand (SVOD) platforms: Apple TV, HBO Max, Peacock, and Disney+.

New SVOD platforms have garnered large audiences in a short amount of time. For example, Disney+ has already gained over 100 million subscribers since its launch in November 2020.

PlatformPaid Subscribers (latest available data as of June 2021)
Netflix208 million
Prime Video200 million
Tencent Video123 million
Disney+103.6 million
iQiyi101.7 million
Youku90 million
HBO Max63.9 million
AppleTV40 million
Hulu37.8 million
Eros Now36.2 million

In addition to SVOD services, advertising video on demand (AVOD) platforms—which generate revenue through ads instead of subscribers—are also gaining popularity. Some of these ad-funded services have built up larger audiences than their SVOD counterparts. For instance, IMDb’s free platform IMDbTV has 55 million monthly active users, which is more than Hulu’s number of paid subscribers.

#2: Surge in Content Spending

As more platforms emerge and audience demand grows, spending on content production continues to ramp up as well.

In 2020, a record-breaking $220.2 billion was spent on making and acquiring new feature films and TV programming—that’s a 16.5% increase compared to production spending in 2019.

Where in the world is all this production spending coming from? Perhaps unsurprisingly, over two-thirds of global spending in 2020 came from the U.S. and Canada.

Region2020 Production Spending% Change (YoY)
U.S. & Canada$149.3 billion16.1%
Latin America$5.2 billion32.9%
Europe$32.6 billion11.8%
Africa & Middle East$2.8 billion46.3%
Asia$27.7 billion19.8%
Oceania$0.9 billion32.5%

Despite Hollywood’s dominance, it’s worth noting that smaller markets in regions such as Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East experienced significant growth in 2020.

#3: Spending on Indie Content Rises

With overall content spending at an all-time high, the independent film (indie) market is experiencing growth as well. In fact, of the billions spent on content production, over half went to indie filmmakers.

Keep in mind, this estimate includes direct spending on indie content, along with indirect funding through licensing and co-financing agreements with big studios. In other words, players like Disney and Warner Bros. still technically produce the most content—however, they often outsource production work to independent filmmakers, or buy the rights to indie content, to distribute on their streaming platforms.

All in all, global spending on indie content increased by 25.3% in 2020, year-over-year. And this indie growth could continue into 2021 and beyond, as distributors and streaming giants rush to fill their content pipelines that have run dry because of production challenges and delays caused by COVID-19.

#4: TV Budgets Continue to Soar

As more competition enters the streaming market, producers are facing pressure to up their production value so they can keep their audience’s attention. In other words, because the stakes are getting higher, the cost of production is rising—especially for TV.

In 2020, the budget for an average TV series in the U.S. was $59.6 million, a 16.5% increase year-over-year. One of the most high-cost TV shows last year was WandaVision, a Marvel Cinematic Universe series that cost Disney approximately $200 million (which breaks down to around $25 million per episode).

As series budgets rise, the line between film and TV has started to blur. For instance, characters and narratives from WandaVision will have direct ties to the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, which gives fans an extra incentive to watch the Disney+ series.

No Ceiling in Sight for the Film & TV Industry

Despite months of disruptions caused by COVID-19, the Film & TV industry showed resilience in 2020. But it’s only just the beginning—as audience demand continues to grow, and budgets keep rising, growth has become the new normal.

This graphic is brought to you by Purely Streamonomics, a monthly newsletter that provides key insights into the global Film & TV market.

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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes on offer, MSCI aims to support investors as they build a more personalized and resilient portfolio.

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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

There are various portfolio objectives within the realm of sustainable investing.

For example, some investors may want to build a portfolio that reflects their personal values. Others may see environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as a tool for improving long-term returns, or as a way to create positive impact. A combination of all three of these motivations is also possible.

To support investors as they embark on their sustainable journey, our sponsor, MSCI, offers over 1,500 purpose-built ESG indexes. In this infographic, we’ll take a holistic view at what these indexes are designed to achieve.

An Extensive Suite of ESG & Climate Indexes

Below, we’ll summarize the four overarching objectives that MSCI’s ESG & climate indexes are designed to support.

Objective 1: Integrate a broad set of ESG issues

Investors with this objective believe that incorporating ESG criteria can improve their long-term risk-adjusted returns.

The MSCI ESG Leaders indexes are designed to support these investors by targeting companies that have the highest ESG-rated performance from each sector of the parent index.

For those who do not wish to deviate from the parent index, the MSCI ESG Universal indexes may be better suited. This family of indexes will adjust weights according to ESG performance to maintain the broadest possible universe.

Objective 2: Generate social or environmental benefits

A common challenge that impact investors face is measuring their non-financial results.

Consider an asset owner who wishes to support gender diversity through their portfolios. In order to gauge their success, they would need to regularly filter the entire investment universe for updates regarding corporate diversity and related initiatives.

In this scenario, linking their portfolios to an MSCI Women’s Leadership Index would negate much of this groundwork. Relative to a parent index, these indexes aim to include companies which lead their respective countries in terms of female representation.

Objective 3: Exclude controversial activities

Many institutional investors have mandates that require them to avoid certain sectors or industries. For example, approximately $14.6 trillion in institutional capital is in the process of divesting from fossil fuels.

To support these efforts, MSCI offers indexes that either:

  • Exclude individual sectors such as fossil fuels, tobacco, or weapons;
  • Exclude companies from a combination of these sectors; or
  • Exclude companies that are not compatible with certain religious values.

Objective 4: Identify climate risks and opportunities

Climate change poses a number of wide-reaching risks and opportunities for investors, making it difficult to tailor a portfolio accordingly.

With MSCI’s climate indexes, asset owners gain the tools they need to build a more resilient portfolio. The MSCI Climate Change indexes, for example, reduce exposure to stranded assets, increase exposure to solution providers, and target a minimum 30% reduction in emissions.

An Index for Every Objective

Regardless of your motivation for pursuing sustainable investment, the need for an appropriate benchmark is something that everyone shares.

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes designed specifically for sustainability and climate change, MSCI aims to support asset owners as they build a more unique and personalized portfolio.

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Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

This graphic acts as an ESG report card that tracks the ESG metrics reported by different utilities in the U.S.—what gets left out?

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NPUC Utilities ESG Report Card Share

Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

As emissions reductions and sustainable practices become more important for electrical utilities, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is coming under increased scrutiny.

Once seen as optional by most companies, ESG reports and sustainability plans have become commonplace in the power industry. In addition to reporting what’s needed by regulatory state laws, many utilities utilize reporting frameworks like the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) ESG Initiative or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

But inconsistent regulations, mixed definitions, and perceived importance levels have led some utilities to report significantly more environmental metrics than others.

How do U.S. utilities’ ESG reports stack up? This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council tracks the ESG metrics reported by 50 different U.S. based investor-owned utilities (IOUs).

What’s Consistent Across ESG Reports

To complete the assessment of U.S. utilities, ESG reports, sustainability plans, and company websites were examined. A metric was considered tracked if it had concrete numbers provided, so vague wording or non-detailed projections weren’t included.

Of the 50 IOU parent companies analyzed, 46 have headquarters in the U.S. while four are foreign-owned, but all are regulated by the states in which they operate.

For a few of the most agreed-upon and regulated measures, U.S. utilities tracked them almost across the board. These included direct scope 1 emissions from generated electricity, the utility’s current fuel mix, and water and waste treatment.

Another commonly reported metric was scope 2 emissions, which include electricity emissions purchased by the utility companies for company consumption. However, a majority of the reporting utilities labeled all purchased electricity emissions as scope 2, even though purchased electricity for downstream consumers are traditionally considered scope 3 or value-chain emissions:

  • Scope 1: Direct (owned) emissions.
  • Scope 2: Indirect electricity emissions from internal electricity consumption. Includes purchased power for internal company usage (heat, electrical).
  • Scope 3: Indirect value-chain emissions, including purchased goods/services (including electricity for non-internal use), business travel, and waste.

ESG Inconsistencies, Confusion, and Unimportance

Even putting aside mixed definitions and labeling, there were many inconsistencies and question marks arising from utility ESG reports.

For example, some utilities reported scope 3 emissions as business travel only, without including other value chain emissions. Others included future energy mixes that weren’t separated by fuel and instead grouped into “renewable” and “non-renewable.”

The biggest discrepancies, however, were between what each utility is required to report, as well as what they choose to. That means that metrics like internal energy consumption didn’t need to be reported by the vast majority.

Likewise, some companies didn’t need to report waste generation or emissions because of “minimal hazardous waste generation” that fell under a certain threshold. Other metrics like internal vehicle electrification were only checked if the company decided to make a detailed commitment and unveil its plans.

As pressure for the electricity sector to decarbonize continues to increase at the federal level, however, many of these inconsistencies are roadblocks to clear and direct measurements and reduction strategies.

National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.

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