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MTV, Amazon Get Low Marks in Unscripted TV Producers Survey, Oxygen Voted Most Improved

MTV and Amazon are among the toughest TV networks for producers to work with while Oxygen ranks as the most improved since last year, according to a survey of unscripted TV producers released Wednesday by the NPACT trade organization.

The survey encompasses rankings of 46 outlets in eleven categories from producers at 48 companies. The survey found Showtime, CBS, A&E, History, and Investigation Discovery (ID) earning high marks for the business environment for producers. MTV, Amazon, VH1, and BET ranked consistently near the bottom. (A rep for MTV and VH1 noted that the channels have some of the most-watched unscripted programs on cable with MTV’s “Teen Mom” and VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop.”)

Meanwhile, Apple’s nascent original programming operation has made a positive impression on producers in a short time, according to the survey.

The survey categories included rankings according to the ease (or not) of the pitching process, promotional and scheduling support for shows, the ease of dealing with business affairs, development, production management, editorial oversight, financial reporting and payment policies.

Tops in the pitching process were Apple, A&E, ID, History and CBS. For development, the leaders were Smithsonian Network, ID, YouTube Red, Showtime, NBC, and CBS. In business affairs, responses to the query “are they fair and negotiable, or take-it-or-leave-it” came back with History, National Geographic Channel, DIY, FYI, and Nat Geo Wild at the top of the pack. Amazon, GSN, Syfy and MTV were at the bottom of the business affairs ranking.

Most improved networks since the first survey was conducted last year were Oxygen, with nine votes; Amazon and History with five votes apiece; Netflix with four, and Discovery and YouTube Red with three apiece.

A&E, ID, and Netflix led the poll in the category of “networks you most respect,” with 11 votes apiece. History earned eight votes in this category, followed by Bravo with seven.

Comparisons with last year’s inaugural survey are complicated by the fact that the field of networks has expanded to include commercial-free outlets. Last year, two separate surveys were conducted by rival trade organizations (the Nonfiction Producers Association and PactUS) that have since merged into NPACT. This year’s responses include input from companies that are not members of NPACT.

“This latest survey offers detailed, comprehensive information about producers’ perceptions of networks and OTT services amidst a climate of unprecedented change,” said NPACT general manager John Ford. “NPACT’s goal is to improve that creative process however we can, and our surveys aim to do just that.”

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