Jan 17, 2022 - Economy

New scripted series hit record high following pandemic dip

Estimated number of U.S. scripted original series per year, 2010-2021
Reproduced from an FX Networks Research report; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of new, original scripted series hit a record high in 2021, following a growth dip last year due to production delays amid the pandemic.

Why it matters: Several new streaming services also launched during the pandemic, increasing the demand for new content.

Details: A whopping 559 original scripted television series were produced last year, up 13% from 2020, according to the latest data from FX Networks Research.

  • By contrast, only 216 new scripted originals debuted in 2010, highlighting just how much new programming has debuted in light of streaming.
  • Consolidation among production studios in Hollywood has run rampant amid the streaming content arms race.

The big picture: TV executives have long wondered whether we would one day hit a point of saturation, dubbed "Peak TV." The new data suggests we aren't there yet, although the rate of growth for new original, scripted series had begun to slow slightly before the pandemic.

  • Subscriber growth for subscription streaming services also slowed last quarter amid increased saturation in the U.S.
  • Data from TV research firm Magid suggests that most consumers are willing to pay for roughly four services at a time for about $10 per streaming service.

Flashback: Pandemic puts Peak TV on pause

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