Networks are likely to spend more than $21.3 billion on original programming this year, according to a report by business intelligence firm, L2 Inc.
“Peak TV” was a term coined in 2015 by FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf, according to Variety, and research by his company pegged the number of original series produced last year at 455. Needless to say, the networks are pouring big money into making hundreds of shows and 2017 will be no different.
“Producing more owned content creates some lumpiness in our working capital needs. We expect our FCF (free cash flow) to be around -$2 billion in 2017 vs. -$1.7 billion in 2016, with FCF loss improving sequentially in Q1’17,” according the letter.
The company that launched original content only in 2013 has seen a meteoric growth in the popularity of its shows. Stranger Things was the top trending television show on Google Trends for 2016.
Close behind Netflix, Amazon Studios (AMZN) plans to spend $4.5 billion on original content this year, according to L2. Jeff Bezos got a taste of the Emmy’s with Amazon’s comedy series Transparent last year, and the company's huge war chest means he’s only getting started on the original content business.
Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC unit has a broad array of original shows that spans dramas like The Blacklist to daily soaps like The Days of Our Lives. The network plans to spend $4.3 billion on original programming this year, according to L2. Not only that, the network announced a partnership with Snapchat (SNAP) last year to create original content for the app.
Credit: L2 Inc.; data from The Economist
Disney’s (DIS) ABC network is also spending big on content this year, shelling out close to $4 billion, according to L2 Research. The network also made a big digital push by re-launching streaming services with seven short series, in addition to 38 older shows, according to Variety.
Raking in big bucks for the network, HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the highest-ranked shows on television. The network is creating quite the buzz around the show’s seventh season due this July. With the premise of a robot-themed amusement park, Westworld has also become increasing popular. Per L2, Time Warner (TWX) owned HBO plans to spend $2.5 billion in generating content this year.