Media giants splashed out $445B on video content in four years

The „streaming wars“ between the media giants Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Hulu have pushed the media industry`s content cash spending to record highs. Over the past few years, media companies have spent shocking figures creating video content, all in a race to grow their viewership.

According to data presented by, media companies splashed out close to $445bn on video content in five years.

Media Industry`s Content Cash Spending Jumped 40% Since 2019

Today, people watch more video content than ever on more platforms, channels, and apps. The surging demand for new, entertaining content and the global competition for bigger viewership have pushed the media industry`s content cash spending to new levels. Amazon Prime Video’s half-billion budget for its Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power is the perfect example of this growth.

According to Statista and MoffetNathanson data, in 2019, media companies worldwide spent $96.8 bn on video content. A year later, this figure dropped by 2% to $95.1bn. However, 2021 and 2022 saw impressive double-digit growth rates, with content cash spending reaching new highs.

Statistics show that in 2021, media companies spent $118.4bn on video content or 25% more than a year before. In 2022, total content cash spending jumped by another 14% and hit $134.6bn worldwide. Overall, the media giants have spent a shocking $444.9bn on video content between 2019 and 2022.

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Content Cash Spending to Grow Only 1% in 2023

While 2021 and 2022 saw impressive 25% and 14% annual growth rates during the „streaming wars“peak, total media spending on video content is forecast to grow only 1% this year. According to Statista and MoffetNathanson data, the media industry`s content cash spending is expected to hit $136.4bn in 2023, slightly up from $134.6bn last year.

One reason for this decline is more companies are shifting their focus away from subscriber growth. Also, many have rationalized their business strategies, meaning they will no longer spend heavily on creating new content.

Statistics also show that Amazon, Fox Corporation, and Apple are the only three companies among the media giants that have increased their content spending this year. Fox Corporation`s spending jumped by 22% year-over-year to $3.8bn in 2023. Amazon and Apple followed with 17.8% and 13.5% annual spending increase. On the other hand, Warner Bros. Discovery saw the biggest decline of all media giants, with its content spending falling by 6.1% year-over-year.