The number of original scripted series available on streaming services — such as Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Netflix’s One Day at a Time — surpassed those of broadcast TV, basic cable and pay cable for the first time in 2018, according to research by FX Networks.
Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offered 160 scripted series this year, or about one-third of the total, while broadcast TV offered 146, or about 30 percent, and basic cable offered 144, or 29 percent. Premium cable networks such as HBO, Showtime and Starz offered the other 45 series, or nine percent, for a total of 495 in 2018.
The total number of original scripted series has been steadily climbing. In 2002, there were 182 scripted series on television, airing on broadcast, basic cable and pay cable platforms.
By 2011, that number had climbed to 266 and has gone up every year since.
This is the first year, however, in which streaming services have outpaced its competitors. In 2017, streamers offered 117 original scripted series, compared to broadcast’s 153, basic cable’s 175 and pay cable’s 42 for a total of 487.
That said, this year also marks the highest number of original series on pay-cable networks while conversely it’s the lowest number of basic-cable shows since 2012, when there were 125 original series on basic cable.
The overall pace of growth has slowed. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of original scripted series grew to 422 from 389. That number hit 455 in 2016. In 2018, there were only eight more original scripted series offered overall than in 2017, the lowest margin of growth since FX started tracking.