"Peak TV": Streaming Originals Overtake Basic Cable

A brand new report from FX Research determined that for the first time, more scripted television shows were released by online streaming platforms like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix in 2018 than aired on basic cable, pay cable and broadcast television.

In total, there were 495 scripted shows produced in 2018, and 160 of those or 33% debuted on streaming services, a monumental shift that has big cable worried, reported Variety.

For comparison, 146 shows or 29.5% aired on broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC, 144 shows or 29% aired on basic cable channels like Disney and MTV, and about 45 shows or 9% aired on pay cable like HBO and Showtime in 2018.

While many streaming platforms experienced a jump in output compared to last year, scripted shows on basic cable and broadcast television saw a rapid decline. Last year, basic cable controlled the largest percentage of scripted show market share, but those times have ended, as originals on streaming platforms are now dominant.

Streaming services last year produced 117 shows compared to 160 this year, a 37% jump in output that has outpaced all traditional broadcasting platforms. Streaming service has come a long way in the last seven years when there were only six streaming shows.

The total number of shows across all of television was up 1.6%, rising from 487 in 2017 to 495 this year. Year-to-year growth has plateaued in the last several years, as the television industry has now reached "peak TV."

Networks like WGN America, MTV, and A&E are dropping scripted television, focusing instead on unscripted reality shows. Fox has also "geared down on its number of scripted originals, with the network having launched just three new shows this fall with two on deck for midseason," said Variety.

FX CEO John Landgraf famously coined the term "peak TV" several years ago, referring to an overwhelming rise in the number of scripted shows being produced.

FX Research's study shows that "peak TV" has been reached as the year-to-year growth rate in shows plateaued, but there is a silver lining when the global and US economy rolls over and thousands are laid off. The unemployed will be able to Netflix and chill with hundreds of shows.