After years of powering along like a runaway train, it seems like 2022 will be considered the year the ‘Peak TV’ bubble burst. Yes, the endless supply of new programming for streaming services is slowing down.
The New York Times has done a feature piece on this story and how in recent years, U.S. TV viewers have become accustomed to hundreds of shows being released each year.
In many ways, marketing for streamers in recent times has become about cutting through the noise and trying to make a specific series stand out amidst the clutter, whilst viewers often complain about having too much to watch and/or not being able to find something they want to watch amidst so many different services.
Now though, that may be about to change as the number of adult scripted series ordered by U.S. TV networks and streamers for the domestic market is down by 24% in the second half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to Ampere Analysis.
The ‘end’ began earlier this year when Netflix announced it had lost subscribers for the first time in a decade for its first quarter of 2022. Netflix’s stock nose-dived, with other entertainment corporations experiencing similar falls.
This has led to a seismic shift in Wall Street’s attitude towards media and streaming stocks – now focused much more on profits than subscriber counts. That combined with a perfect storm of a slowing economy, cord-cutting, a dismal advertising market, and widespread layoffs.
The result is a severe decline in show orders in the back half of this year, even as the first half saw a record 325 series ordered. Cutbacks are being seen as a necessary correction after the past few years with stories of series orders being handed out rather cavalierly.
“The Morning Show” series creator Jay Carson tells the outlet he has projects in development but was told by his reps recently it has become a “blood bath of a market”.
The most profound declines in orders this year were from Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount, with Disney also slightly down. Apple TV+ and Amazon bucked the trend, increasing their adult scripted series count. Orders for international and unscripted series have reportedly been unaffected and remain steady.
How a potential strike next year by members of the television writers union will impact is unclear. Still, an upside could be that by scaling back a bit, streamers and networks will offer fewer shows of better quality.