Studios' 2019 Record 532 New Scripted Series Termed 'Bananas'

Driven by the proliferation of streaming services and the ensuing battle to win viewers via more and more original content, the number of original scripted series released for TV and video last year rose to a record 532.

That’s the latest number from FX’s annual Peak TV tally, cited by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf at yesterday’s Television Critics Association meeting in Pasadena, California.

The number represents a 153% jump from 2009’s total of 210 scripted dramas, comedies and limited series. The tallies for 2018 and 2017 were 495 and 487, respectively.  

"Given that the streaming wars are now at hand, that total will increase substantially this year, which to me is just bananas," Landgraf declared.

“The danger of the internet is that everything becomes junk food,” he added.

Over the past decade, the traditional production budget norm of about $1 million per episode for standard dramas has ballooned. Costs exceeding $10 million per episode are now not uncommon.

Netflix alone spent about $15 billion on original content development in 2019, and will spend about $17.8 billion this year, estimated BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon.

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