In the ever-shifting landscape of the Peak TV Era, some things stay the same and some things flip the script.
A new report out today from Film L.A. has a bit of both with Amazon the top dog for new TV projects last year, production for digital networks up almost 80% over 2017 and the great state of California remaining the number #1 location for making small screen magic.
Buoyed by several years of lucrative tax incentives, the Golden State also looks poised to hit an all-time record of one-hour TV series being produced within its borders, the non-profit group declares in its newly minted 2018 Television Report.
With the likes of The Boys, the Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of he and Terry Pratchett’s satirical 1990 end-of-the-world novel Good Omens, and Utopia, the now Jennifer Salke-run Amazon Studios looks to be the victor among digital networks for the 2017-2018 development cycle, Film L.A. says in the kitchen-sink-and-all report released on the last day of the Winter TCA.
In a TV environment of an estimated 467 live-action scripted series “produced by U.S. studios for the U.S. market” over the past two-years, Amazon had 14 new projects. That was two more than Netflix, eight more than Hulu and much more than the spattering provided individually over the same time period by Apple, CBS All Access, DC Universe, Sony Crackle, Facebook Watch and YouTube.
In the big picture of the last year, Netflix is the winner with more than half of the digital network produced series out there right now. They may not reveal their actual ratings data that often, but the Reed Hastings-run streamer had 86 of the 169 total digital series for 2017-2018. The Jeff Bezos founded Amazon had 22 series and the home of the Emmy winning The Handmaid’s Tale had 16 series on the go last year.
While there has been a gradual continuing decrease year-over-year in the overall number of new projects in the development pipeline, the game changing power of the streamers is clear when you see how many shows are now ordered straight-to-series. Virtually non-existent as recently as eight years ago , the Netflix and Amazon fueled straight-to-series philosophy is a strong competitor to the traditional pilot method as the road new shows travel, as the Film L.A. chart below illustrates:
Globally, California is still the number #1 location for TV production with 176 of the 467 scripted series Film L.A. has counted. Significantly ahead of second and third place rivals, New York State and British Columbia up in the Great White North, Cali’s 176 is actually a small increase over the year before when the state had 173 scripted series being produced in the home of Hollywood.
Drilling down more into new TV projects and more math, California retains the clear edge, as the Film L.A. report notes:
In the wide-ranging realm of one-hour series, the now $330 million a year tax credits introduced back in 2014 do seem to be paying off. Not only did the state hit a new record for the current year, but the strongly West Coast-based digital networks production is the fast-growing segment of that new high.
Indicative of the state of the industry to come, one-hour shows from the Amazons, Hulus and Netflixs now make up a solid 32% of the category in Cali, a surge of over 100% from just last year.
BTW – if you are wondering why Film L.A.’s total TV scripted series count is almost 30 less than what John Landgraf and FX estimated back in December for last year, the answer is simple.
The FX researchers counted animated projects among their scripted tally of 495 series, while Film L.A. only went for live-action – but that’s the permitting group’s gig isn’t it?