Did you watch the latest season of Black Mirror? How about Handmaid’s Tale? In the age of “peak TV,” this classic water-cooler conversation starter induces more anxiety than enthusiasm for television series. As long ago as 2015, when he coined the phrase “peak TV,” FX Networks boss John Langraf observed that there’s “simply too much TV.”
Indeed, nearly 500 scripted series aired on US TV last year; 487 to be exact, up from 455 in 2016, according to FX Networks’ annual study of scripted-TV programming.
Most were commissioned by online platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Social networks such as Facebook also got in the TV game with full-length series in 2017.
Those platforms have been spending furiously to ensure that they’re among the handful of video services audiences subscribe to each month. Netflix spent roughly $6 billion (paywall) on programming in 2017, Amazon spent