Please wait...
Please wait...

NPACT report ranks Investigation Discovery most producer-friendly US net

Love, Honor, Betray looks at criminal couples who are betrayed by loved ones

Investigation Discovery (ID) is the most producer-friendly US network, according to the latest producer survey from NPACT, but MTV, Science Channel and Freeform were among those scoring poorly.

The survey of producers’ experiences is carried out annually by NPACT, the trade association for non-fiction production companies doing business in the US.

Based on 2021 activity, the survey asked producers to rate their experiences working with US networks across eight categories: pitching, development, greenlighting, business affairs, production oversight and notes, production management, finance and an overall category. A total of 49 production companies participated, rating 66 networks and platforms.

Overall, ID was rated as the best network to deal with, ahead of Nat Geo Wild, CBS, YouTube Originals, NBC, Hulu and A&E. ID’s greenlights in 2021 included commissioning 26 hours of true crime content from UK factual prodco Arrow Media, including Love, Honor, Betray (6×60’).

Hulu also performed strongly in the survey, with the streaming platform being listed in the top 10 across more categories than any other network. CBS and History tied for second place, while HBO, HBO Max and ID tied for third.

However, there was bad news for another Discovery-owned net, Science Channel, as well as MTV, CNBC, Freeform and ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ streaming service, which all scored consistently poorly in the survey.

In the greenlighting category, Hulu topped the list ahead of CBS, ID, Disney+, Peacock, WE tv, VH1, Magnolia, USA and History. Hulu’s non-scripted greenlights in 2021 included a docuseries about Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor convicted of conspiring to sell a Senate seat, and another docuseries about the LA Lakers. BET came last in this category followed by Animal Planet and Paramount+.

ID topped the rankings for its Zoom pitching process, which predominantly took place virtually in 2021. It was followed by Viceland, SundanceTV, TLC, OWN, WE tv, E!, Hulu, CNN and History in the top 10. MTV, VH1 and Paramount+ were the bottom three ranked.

Nickelodeon and Hulu ranked joint highest in the programme development category, followed by YouTube Originals, Viceland, CBS, HBO Max, HBO, USA, Peacock and ID. CNBC and Freeform were rated worst, both scoring an average of just one out of 10, followed by VH1, MTV and Science Channel.

The business affairs category was topped by National Geographic, with Showtime, HBO Max, Apple, Hulu, Disney+, truTV, AMC, History and Nat Geo Wild making up the remainder of the top 10. Paramount, Freeform, CNBC, BET and MTV all scored poorly.

Nat Geo Wild posted the highest scores in the production oversight and notes section, followed by YouTube Originals, HBO Max, Hulu, CBS, HBO, ID, Showtime, PBS and OWN. CNBC, MTV and VH1, again, propped up the list.

BET was rated the highest in the category for financial process and policies, followed by WE tv, NatGeoWild, HBO, CBS, Travel, Hulu, History, Viceland and truTV. CNBC, Discovery-owned OWN, and Amazon were the lowest scorers here.

The production management category was topped by Tru TV ahead of History, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, Fox, CBS, HBO Max, Paramount+, Hulu and HBO.

“Responding to the immense challenge of producing during the pandemic, unscripted was the first sector to come back, and come back safely,” said NPACT general manager Michelle Van Kempen in a statement.

“Much changed as a result of these challenges and this year’s survey is an opportunity to spotlight our network and streaming partners that have adapted in a producer-friendly way. It’s also a chance to evaluate what’s working well in the production world, and where there’s room for improvement as we work together to navigate the ‘new normal’.”

Until the pandemic, NPACT, which formed in 2017 through the merger of US indie bodies PactUS and the Nonfiction Producers Association, had released the report annually but it was forced to scale back the survey in 2020 when Covid-19 upended production. Last year, NPACT asked one question in its survey – which network had been the best partner to production companies during the pandemic – with Bravo, Discovery, HBO Max and Netflix ranking the highest.


Please wait...