The Best Streaming Shows Still Have A Short Life Vs. Linear TV Series

Two of the biggest streaming TV shows -- Netflix's "Stranger Things" and Amazon Prime Video’s "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" -- have announced the ending of their TV series, both after five seasons.

While there has been criticism, especially around Netflix, when it comes to TV series ending quickly -- after just one or two seasons in many cases -- TV shows that make it to the five-season level are pretty rare.

Know this: Don’t expect streamers to achieve 10- to-12 TV season-long tenures. The odds are weak that many will get to the level of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (18 seasons) or CBS’s “NCIS” (19 seasons)

Viewers not only like a lot of content to choose from, but perhaps tire more quickly and thus turn away from long-time favorites after a certain period.

Perhaps leave on a high. Take some apparent advice from star NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who just announced his retirement at the ripe young age of 44.



Sure. He didn’t win another Super Bowl this past year -- not adding to his seemingly impossible tally of seven trophies. (Lots of injuries perhaps did his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in). But he did lead the league in regular season passing yards and touchdowns.

Back to streaming: The longest running Netflix original streaming TV show has been “Orange is the New Black”, which ended in 2019 after seven seasons. Later this year, Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” will end also with seven seasons.

But maybe these are outliers. Down the road “Maisel” or “Stranger Things”, with five each, may be as well. With many streamers committed to each spending a massive $10 billion to $15 billion or more a year on content, there will be quicker turnover.

One strong indication here: Pulling back on releasing a full season worth of episodes at one time -- close to what (but not exactly) traditional linear TV networks do, that is releasing one episode a week.

For example, Amazon’s “Maisel” for season four, starting on Friday, February 18, will debut two new episodes every week -- on Fridays -- for four weeks.

If you thought it was next to impossible to view all the new streaming content you desire, the next few years will be even tougher.

If you could, it would be a stranger thing indeed.

1 comment about "The Best Streaming Shows Still Have A Short Life Vs. Linear TV Series".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 21, 2022 at 10:12 a.m.

    Wayne, the function of many of streaming's "originals" is different from those on "linear TV". The latter are in for the long haul---providing that they pass the test of gaining acceptance in their first season; the former are designed, primarily,  as promotions to lure subsribers---or samplers---in the hopes of converting them into subs---but once hooked, these subs will feast primarily on reruns of---guess what?---old broadcast network shows like "Seinfeld", "NCIS" "Law & Order" , etc.

    Also, the broadcast TV networks now share on the huge syndication profits that long-running series earn after their network runs end. Needless to say, the more episodes---and seasons---that these shows accumulate the larger the profits. So once a series seems successful it is often kept on the air---even with declining ratings---to amass as many episodes as possible---so the network can share in the profits that will surely come.

    Finally, many of the "edgy" dramas that appear as streaming opriginals burn out their welcome if renewed ---at high cost---year after year. This is much less the case with most "linear TV" series which do not hit viewers with such high doses of intensity---hence they last longer.

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