The last 18 months of lockdowns and social distancing have highlighted how important the unscripted TV sector is to the entertainment industry, and it’s a trend that looks likely to continue. As a Warner Bros President recently commented - “Network TV is counting on reality a little more, even without COVID”. How very true.
The rise of unscripted
Unscripted content now represents a huge 40% of the television available today. The meteoric rise of video-first social media platforms is driving up viewership of unscripted content because people are craving connection and understanding, and more than ever choosing to devour authentic real person and real issue stories. Similarly, publishers are getting in on the action and becoming more adept at producing their own unscripted content, like documentary films and factual series.
Even the streamers are shifting. According to recent research the cumulative number of reality TV shows offered on streaming services nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2021 when compared with the same period last year. ViacomCBI Inc’s CEO recently dubbed unscripted programming “the fastest growing genre in streaming”.
New streaming platforms are even emerging solely designed to feed audiences the content they desire most. Streamfire, a new video streaming service with TV channels full of user generated content (UGC), launched in the US in June, and Creator+ is becoming established as a go-to for feature length films starring creators.
The rise of creators
Creators are no longer on the fringes of mainstream entertainment; they are at the very heart of it. We love to laugh at their videos, immerse ourselves in their lives, admire their antics and daredevil stunts, share their passion for environmental and societal issues, and indulge their moments of raw emotion. Despite this, traditional programming consistently fails to include creators.
Fear of Missing Out on the Rise of Unscripted?
Producers take note - cable networks, broadcasters and streamers are looking for more diverse programming, they’re searching for new formats, they want to be at the vanguard of programming innovation and capitalise on the next big thing. They want producers to bring them new ideas and explore different ways of thinking and production formats that can lead to exciting new unscripted projects.
UGC offers a continuous supply of fresh content, new ideas and jaw-dropping entertainment, and the opportunity to get more of the shows cable networks, broadcasters, and streamers (not to mention audiences, of course) want into production quickly.
And here’s the real kicker – unscripted TV using UGC can cost a fraction of what it takes to produce scripted content. So, as well as delivering that all important diversity of content, it can also generate higher profits.
Fight the FOMO
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