Have you ever been on a streaming service like Netflix and been overwhelmed by the number of shows there are to watch on a given day? Well, if you have, that is the appropriate response to have as last year saw a major increase in the number of adult scripted original series. According to the FX Content Research, the estimated number of adult scripted original series in 2021 was 559 across cable, broadcast TV, and streaming services.
When you compare that number to previous years, 2020 saw 493 shows, 2019 had 532, 2018 had 496, and there were 487 shows available in 2017. Comparing 2021 to 2016, which had 455 shows, there was a 23% increase in the number of shows in a given year. The research itself spans a decade and in 2012 there were 288 shows available to watch. In the decade since, it has seen a steady increase in that number and when FX’s research started in 2002 there were only 182 shows to watch.
Two decades later in 2021, there were 377 more series to watch than there were in 2002. There was a slight drop-off in shows to watch in 2020 when compared to 2019 and 2021, but that is most likely due to the pandemic shutting down the production of most programs for a majority of that year.
There are many reasons for this upward trend and the biggest has to be the rise in the number of streaming services. Netflix began its reign over the streaming market in the late 2000s. However, since then many new options have become available. We now live in a world that has Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, HBO Max, Shudder, Apple TV+, and Discovery+. That is on top of the normal cable/network options found on CBS, NBC, ABC, and The CW. It has gotten to the point where if you combine all the amounts of each streaming service you would likely be paying more than the average monthly cable bill. That is an overwhelming thought and, with the uptick in streaming services, the amount of places a show can be watched has risen as well.
The average consumer cannot keep up with all this content because, for example, shows that are Disney+ or Netflix exclusives make picking out what is necessary to watch much harder. Streaming also eliminates the obstacle of limited time slots on network television which has caused more shows like Evil to move from CBS to Paramount+. If this upward trend continues, in a decade we could see the available amount of TV shows in a given year rise in the thousands.
With the overall quality of the average show only getting better and better that is a stress-inducing thought, to say the least. You can see the full research down below and for all the latest TV news, stick with Collider.
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