Streaming's double-edged sword: rising numbers, slowing momentum

29 August, 2023

Two things can be true at once:

  1. The streaming bubble has popped and audiences will likely never again enjoy the same levels of consistent mountainous volume of content as they once did.

  2. Streaming is still a growing medium overall.

In this chart from Parrot Analytics, the blue vertical bars represent the total number of streaming original series that have premiered in their respective quarters (or earlier), indexed to the total number that premiered prior to 2020 (represented as 100). The red line represents the percentage growth in the number of streaming originals each quarter vs the previous quarter. What it shows is that while the number of new streaming exclusive series is still going up, the rate of growth has slowed considerably since 2022 compared to the two years prior. In other words, the streaming industry isn’t pumping out as many new shows per quarter as it once did. 

This slowdown coincides with Wall Street’s about face on the streaming business model, which inspired the entertainment industry to focus more on revenue and profit and less on raw subscription growth. As a result, the number of series being made is gradually going to flatten out. While this transition takes hold, companies are also picking over the graveyards of their little watched streaming libraries to remove underperforming titles. All of this will eventually result in less choice for the consumer (though there will still be more than enough to watch for years to come). FX Networks President John Landgraf even said last year that “we see a strong indication that we’ll see decline in 2023” when discussing the number of scripted series that air across broadcast, cable and streaming every year. 

As overall volume comes down, hit rate per platform becomes even more integral to success. 

digital originals growth

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