Everyone talks about peak streaming, but now the studios seem to be doing something about it.
So far in 2023, there’s been a slowdown in the number of new streaming original series. The recent high point for premieres came in the fourth quarter of 2022, which saw the fastest quarterly growth in output in the past three years. An 11% growth in the number of streaming original titles drove by a record number of premieres. Since that high point, the pace of output has slowed for two consecutive quarters.
After years of encouraging profligate budgets in the name of subscriber growth, Wall Street has been pressuring studios to curb content spending, leading to big writedowns, layoffs and cuts. That’s broken a years-long upward trend in production only slowed by the disruptions of the early pandemic. From the beginning of 2021, the growth rate of new series premieres continued to accelerate. This is the first time it’s slowed for two consecutive quarters.
Over the past few years, the rapid proliferation of streaming services around the world has been accompanied by a boom in the number of shows available to audiences. By the second quarter of 2022, the number of streaming original series was more than double the total number of streaming original series that had premiered prior to 2020.
It is also important to note the ongoing strikes in Hollywood, with the WGA strike starting in May and SAG-AFTRA’s in July. While this dual work stoppage coincides with the slowdown in content we measured, it is unlikely to have directly caused it: The effects of the strikes have yet to be felt on the output of new content.
Instead, streamers may be making a conscious decision to delay releasing new content now, banking it to smooth over any future disruptions. If the effects of the strikes on the content pipeline have yet to play out, this could just be the start of the slowdown of the streaming era’s boom years.
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.
Christofer Hamilton is an industry insights manager at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.