16 FEB 2024

U.S.: Scripted releases fell in 2023 after strikes’ impact

According to a research by Ampere Analysis, 2023 recorded the lowest number of releases in the last 4 years.

16 FEB 2024

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A combination of strike action and a downturn in original content saw Scripted U.S. series releases fall to 481 in 2023, according to Ampere Analysis’ latest report on the impact of 2023's strikes on U.S. commissioning in general, and the strikes' impact on Hollywood in particular. This figure is below the 510 of Covid-hit 2020 and means 2021 and 2022 are the high watermark of 633, the "pinnacle of Peak TV." The number of series ordered was in an even more precipitous decline than releases, and due to the time lag between series being greenlit and hitting screens, Ampere said this number is unlikely to rise in 2024.

No. of US-produced Scripted TV seasons Released and Ordered per year

The bulk of the decline in 2023 was due to SVOD services releasing 77 fewer seasons and broadcast TV releasing 55 fewer seasons. Broadcast releases have been falling slowly for many years. Still, Ampere blames the drop in 2023 mainly on the strikes, delaying many new scripted seasons on broadcast TV to a mid-season start in January and February 2024. The potential for truncated 23/24 seasons doubling up with full 24/25 seasons starting in the fall may produce a temporary bounce in seasons released on broadcast in 2024, a trend seen post-peak-pandemic in 2021.

The more terminal decline is coming from the SVOD services. Netflix reduced its releases from 107 in 2022 to 68 in 2023. This drop began in the first half of the year. Other significant reductions were from Peacock (-20 titles), Hulu (-11), Max (-9), and Paramount+ (-4). Furthermore, while other players like Amazon, Apple, and Disney+ maintained the number of series released in 2023, only Amazon maintained the series it ordered, meaning 2024 will be even lighter for almost all the significant SVODs.

At the significant SVOD services, U.S. commissions are being outcompeted by international commissions. There were 202 new U.S. commissions (down from 342) versus 295 international (down from 429), a disparity of 46%. Ampere concludes that the strikes are partly the cause but also conceal the broader story of internationalization and the decentring of Hollywood as the core of the world’s T.V. industry.