Ampere: “Abrupt” End for Peak TV


Between the Hollywood strikes and a broader commissioning downturn, U.S. scripted series releases plunged in 2023 to 481, below the Covid-hit 2020 number of 510 and down considerably from the 633 in 2021 and 2022, according to Ampere Analysis.

It wasn’t just releases that fell: series orders were down considerably, too; from the 2019 peak of 722, they slipped to 637 in 2020, 673 in 2021, and 661 in 2022 before cratering to 418 last year.

SVOD saw the biggest decline, with 77 fewer seasons released, while broadcast released 55 fewer seasons. The broadcast lag was mostly strike-related, with the bulk of new shows being pushed to midseason. As such, there may be a temporary bounce in seasons released on broadcast in 2024.

The SVOD decline, Ampere says, is “terminal.” Netflix had 107 scripted releases in 2022; this slipped to 68 last year and started before the strikes. Peacock released 20 fewer titles, Hulu 11, Max 9 and Paramount+ 4. Amazon, Apple, and Disney+ maintained the number of series released in 2023, but only Amazon maintained the series it ordered.

AVOD and FAST are offering opportunities but are nowhere close to replacing the number of scripted series previously made by social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, let alone broadcast or pay TV.

Ampere is also seeing a shift away from U.S. commissions to international as SVOD platforms chase global gains and cost cuts. At the top eight SVOD services, there were 202 new U.S. commissions (down from 342) versus 295 international (down from 429).

Fred Black, principal analyst at Ampere Analysis, noted: “A combination of disruptive strike action, a tightening of purse strings at SVOD services and the relative bang-for-your-buck offered by international production markets, in terms of costs, fresh content and potential subscriber growth, saw the U.S. scripted boom finally run out of steam. While 2024 will see some level of a bounce back in the content being ordered, many of these titles will be released in 2025, meaning any recovery is likely to be slow going.”