Analysts are predicting that we might be reaching peak television, with 2017 expected to air over 500 scripted television shows. The AP is reporting that between broadcast, cable television, an streaming services there will be approximately 450 scripted shows in 2016, easily on pace for a big jump once again in 2017.
And while choice can be great, there are only so many eyeballs, and so many advertisers to sell to those eyeballs to pay for all of this television.
Services like Netflix and Amazon have ramped up their spend on original shows, bringing in more competition for major networks when it comes to buying the rights to new television shows.
John Landgraf, the CEO of FX Networks believes we’re going to see a huge decrease here soon, stating that he thinks there’s just too many shows out there. “I’m not saying that I believe we are in a bubble which is going to pop, causing us to go from 500-plus scripted series to half that number.” He then went on to argue that we’ll likely see tings balance out around 400.
Thinking about it, certainly it does feel like there is way too much television than one human is capable of enjoying. The whole concept of paradox of choice comes in to play here as well, certainly, as hundreds of titles don’t make it easy to choose what to watch next.
Then of course there’s the argument that a lot of these 500 shows are just… objectively bad television. Most disappear from the networks by the end of the season, and some even before then. It’s hard to try and get on board with a new series knowing it could easily get cancelled.
500 television shows in one year is just an impossible amount of television, and most concepts are starting to seem awfully familiar. It would probably go a long way in reviving declining viewership to slim down the total number of scripted shows being produced.
The problem of course remains, what exactly do they fill all that broadcast time with?
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