Hulu, ID score highly in NPACT survey for 2021

Discovery-owned ID has been named the favorite network to work with overall by producers of unscripted, documentary and non-fiction content in the 2021 edition of NPACT’s annual network/streamer ranking survey. The ...
January 24, 2022

Discovery-owned ID has been named the favorite network to work with overall by producers of unscripted, documentary and non-fiction content in the 2021 edition of NPACT’s annual network/streamer ranking survey.

The survey from the North American production trade organization took a pandemic-related pause in 2020 with just one question posed to producers for that year: Which buyer, or buyers, were the best partner during the COVID-19 crisis? Bravo, Discovery, HBO Max and Netflix were selected by producers responding.

For the 2021 edition, the questioning was more robust. Categories covered the pitching process (this year, specific to Zoom/video conferencing); development; the greenlighting process; business affairs; production oversight and notes; production management; and finance. The final category names the producers’ favorite networks and streamers to work with on an overall basis.

Respondents were asked to rank only those networks they worked with last year. Forty-nine prodcos rated 66 networks and platforms in eight categories.

Streaming service Hulu was cited in the top 10 across more categories than any other platform or network. Based on overall averages across all survey categories, the top 10 leading network and platforms in the survey were: Hulu, CBS, HBO, Nickelodeon, History, HBO Max, ID, Nat Geo Wild, truTV and Netflix.

While ID was named the best network to deal with on an overall basisĀ — rated on a scale of “best to deal with” to “most difficult to deal with” overallĀ — Nat Geo Wild, CBS, YouTube Originals, and NBC rounded out the top five. The bottom five networks in this category included BET, Freeform, VH1, CNBC and MTV.

In the more specific categories, ID led the rankings when it came to the Zoom/video conferencing pitching process, with Viceland, SundanceTV, TLC, OWN, WEtv, E!, Hulu, CNN, and History rounding out the top 10.

ViacomCBS’ Nickelodeon, meanwhile, led the way in program development, according to respondents, followed by Hulu, YouTube Originals, Viceland, CBS, HBO Max, HBO, USA, Peacock, and ID.

When it came to the greenlighting process, Hulu was given top honors, followed by CBS, ID, Disney+, Peacock, WEtv, VH1, Magnolia, USA, and History.

National Geographic, meanwhile, was named best for business affairs, followed by Showtime, HBO Max, Apple, Hulu, Disney+, truTV, AMC, History, and Nat Geo Wild.

Disney-owned Nat Geo Wild was given top marks for production editorial oversight and notes, followed by YouTube Originals, HBO Max, Hulu, CBS, HBO, ID, Showtime, PBS, and OWN.

WarnerMedia’s truTV, meanwhile, scored a perfect ’10′ for production management, followed by History, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, Fox, CBS, HBO Max, Paramount+, Hulu, and HBO.

ViacomCBS’ BET ranked top of the list for financial processes and policies, with a perfect ’10′ ranking, followed by WEtv, Nat Geo Wild, HBO, CBS, Travel, Hulu, History, Viceland, and truTV.

“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 (pictured) 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.’”

Full survey results can be found via this link.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.