We haven't reached the peak of "peak TV" just yet — and it's all because of streaming.
A report from FX found that for the first time, more scripted shows were released by streaming services this year than aired on basic cable or broadcast television, per Variety. There were a total of 495 scripted originals produced in 2018, and 160 of those debuted on streaming services. For comparison, 146 shows aired on broadcast networks like NBC and CBS, and 144 aired on basic cable channels like MTV in 2018. This all means that 32 percent of all scripted TV shows were released on streaming this year, while 30 percent aired on broadcast, 29 percent aired on basic cable, and nine percent aired on paid cable.
While streaming services saw an increase in output compared to last year, the scripted production of broadcast and basic cable both experienced a decline. Last year, basic cable made up the biggest percentage of the market, Variety reported at the time. Streaming services last year only produced 117 shows compared to 160 this year. We've certainly come a long way since 2011, when there were only six streaming shows total, The Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon points out.
Overall, there were a total of 487 scripted series produced in 2017, and in 2016, there were 455 of them.
FX CEO John Landgraf in 2015 famously coined the term "peak TV," referring to an enormous and overwhelming increase in the number of scripted shows being produced in a year. But the number of originals has only continued to grow since then, as demonstrated by this annual study that his network releases every year. This study shows that the growth rate in general is slowing down a bit, but as Langraf himself said in August, the peak is still "a ways away.” Brendan Morrow
It looks like Netflix's barrage of content won't be slowing down anytime soon.
Per entertainment analysis firm Ampere Analysis, Netflix currently has over 250 originals planned. That means there are more new projects on the way than have been released to date, per The Hollywood Reporter. Thus far, the streaming giant has put out 229 original shows.
In addition, the study shows that Netflix is continuing to focus on original sci-fi and comedy shows, as these genres both appeal to a younger audience. About 17 percent of the originals in the works are dramas, the study concludes; by contrast, that number is 29 percent for Amazon.
Part of the reason Netflix has ramped up its original production so significantly is that it now must compete with several new rival streaming services that did not exist a few years ago. Disney, for instance, has hosted content on Netflix since 2016. But in 2019, it will pull much of its library and take it to a streaming platform of its own.
Netflix, no longer as able to rely on other companies' content, must ensure that its own shows are enough to keep subscribers on board. As top Netflix executive Ted Sarandos put it in 2013: "The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." Brendan Morrow