2016’s record number of TV series set to grow

2016-12-22 11:59

Cape Town – While South African TV viewers complain about repeats, the latest results from an annual study about "Peak TV" and the number of new shows being made reveals that television in American and on South African screens are awash with more new television that any one person could possibly hope to watch.

As viewers are already struggling to keep up, 2017 is set to bring even more new television.

The latest results from the annual "Peak TV" study released by the FX pay-TV channel reveals that 2016 brought viewers more original TV series than ever before – 455 compared to 421 in 2015 – with the number that will grow even more series in 2017.

This is just for American shows – the large majority of which is seen in South Africa.

This number excludes reality shows, documentaries and kids' television, as well as the additional local content shown by South Africa's broadcasters the SABC, e.tv and M-Net.

"Peak TV was once again far from peaky in 2016, with a record 455 scripted original series across broadcast, cable, and streaming sources," says Julie Piepenkotter, the executive vice president of research at FX Networks in a statement.

"This estimate represents an 8% percent increase over just the last year (421 in 2015) ? but an astonishing 71% increase over five years ago (266 in 2011) and 137% over a decade ago (192 in 2006)."

If the trend keeps up, it means that 2017 could deliver close to 500 original scripted shows, each consisting of multiple episodes viewers have to try and sample and then try and keep up with.

Growth from streaming services

Interestingly the biggest growth is now coming from so-called "streaming" shows, original TV series – dramas and sitcoms – produced by and for subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) players like Netflix and Amazon's Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video launched last week in South Africa and 35 other African countries, joining a fast-growing list of these players making a play for South African and African consumers’ wallets with their selected TV content offerings.

These online pay-TV services like Netflix and Amazon are now driving new TV show growth, producing almost twice as many series in 2016 compared to last year.

Some of the content from these SVOD players have been brought and are broadcast on some of the linear TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform – for instance Orange is the New Black from Netflix, Mozart in the Jungle from Amazon, The Art of More from Crackle and some others all shown on M-Net.

There's however an exploding number of new shows that are only accessible through subscriptions to these SVOD services, making subscriptions to these services the only way for South Africans to see this growing number of shows.

With DStv that no longer has everything exclusively, TV watchers who want to keep up with and watch everything, now need subscriptions for a growing number of additional pay-TV platforms.

If you want to watch Shadowhunters, Fuller House or the upcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events in January 2017 you'll need Netflix, and an Amazon Prime Video subscription for Jeremy Clarkson's new The Grand Tour is the only legitimate way to see that show.

Then there's the library series services of Naspers' ShowMax and PCCW Global's ONTAPtv.com with back catalogues of hundreds of shows, with MTN's VU and the LGBT streamer PrideTV also providing carousels of TV series.

(Graphic: FX TV)

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