In a surprising turn of events, the majority of the most-watched titles were actually licensed content from years ago despite streaming platforms investing a staggering $23 billion in original scripted content in 2022,

According to Nielsen, 12 out of the top 15 shows streamed that year were older shows like NCIS, Cocomelon, and The Simpsons. Similarly, the top 15 streaming movies consisted mainly of older theatrical releases, including Frozen.

This trend of consuming older content seems persistent, raising questions about the success of new original productions.

Old Content Thrive, New Original Titles Struggle

Fortune reported that Warner Bros Discovery, despite the underwhelming performance of their newest releases like Shazam and Flash at the box office, found success in their older content library. Four of their titles made it to the top 15 most streamed shows list.

David Decker, the company’s president of content sales, attributed this success to the discovery of their deep library by a new generation of fans. He stated, “It makes sense that shows from the past are still heavily consumed.”

However, only three new original titles managed to break into the top 15 most-watched streamers chart in 2022. Even shows like Stranger Things, Ozark and Wednesday had ties to the past, borrowing scenes and themes, or featuring actors from previous decades.

This reliance on nostalgia suggests that audiences may have a preference for familiar themes and references.

Source: Nielsen Streaming Content Ratings

Even in the previous year, 11 licensed titles from the past dominated the top 15 most streamed titles, such as New Girl (2011), Criminal Minds (2005), and Grey’s Anatomy (2005).

On the other hand, not all new spinoffs or original productions from popular franchises have flourished. Disney’s Toy Story prequel, Lightyear, and the latest Ant-man installment failed at the box office, along with their new original series, Elemental.

Even the highly anticipated Star Wars spinoff, Mandalorian, couldn’t crack the top 15 most streamed chart. In contrast, the decade-old animated series Bluey, acquired by Disney, landed at number eight. These results highlight the unpredictability of audience reception and the challenges faced by new original content.

Source: Nielsen Streaming Content Ratings

The Industry Faces Challenges

Streamers are aware that they cannot rely on old content forever, leading to a surge in the production of new original scripted series. In the U.S. alone, a record-breaking 600 new series were produced in 2022, with significantly higher budgets compared to traditional averages. Disney spent an impressive $25 million per episode across eight different series.

However, despite the significant investment, none of these new productions managed to secure a spot in the top streaming chart for 2022. This creates a paradox where the quantity and budget of content do not guarantee success.

Another challenge facing the entertainment industry is the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike in May 2023. While the writers’ demand for residual payments is justified, they have lost significant leverage due to the changing landscape of streaming economics.

Furthermore, writers face new challenges, including the potential threat of artificial intelligence replacing them in the future.

A protester holds a sign criticizing the film studios’ suggestions to substitute writers with generative AI | Looper

Industry analysts argue that poor scripts lacking substance and the popularity of content from the past contribute to the dilemma. It becomes apparent that great writers are crucial for creating hit content, but the industry is currently struggling to generate such content.

One talent agent points to Silicon Valley as a contributing factor to the focus on quantity over quality in the streaming race. The emphasis on building a vast catalog to rival Hollywood’s century-long head start has led to a sacrifice in quality.

An example of this is the heavily criticized and expensive TV series “Rings of Power,” which received poor reviews and had a low completion rate. Despite this, the show was renewed, and its creators profited.

While Silicon Valley takes some blame, traditionalists point to the dominance of Intellectual Property (IP) like Transformers, Avengers, Barbie, and Super Mario, which has overshadowed original creative works.

Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, and Martin Scorsese have expressed criticism of the current state of the industry, with Scott disapproving of the explosion of superhero movies and Scorsese describing it as “not real cinema.”

The Allure of Streaming Old TV Content

A Quora discussion revealed several reasons why people prefer old TV shows over new ones. One factor is the simplicity of the older shows, which focused on enjoyment rather than complex storytelling or high-tech gadgets. They were more relatable and easily understood, allowing viewers to catch up effortlessly if they missed an episode.

In contrast, modern shows often feel the need to explain every detail, potentially ruining the overall experience. Another theory suggests that our knowledge of behind-the-scenes information has impacted our enjoyment of TV shows, as we long for a time when they were just shows, free from distractions like celebrity gossip and social media.

Other theories include the influence of talented writers from movies and radio, the avoidance of insulting viewer intelligence, and the creative freedom found in older shows.

Source: Quora

It is clear that there are multiple factors impacting the reception of original content, including issues of diversity, the freshness of content, originality, the rise of anti-wokeness, and an oversaturation of content. The industry faces the challenge of finding a balance between appealing to nostalgia and generating fresh, engaging content.

Ultimately, as Harvey Keitel aptly stated, writers remain the lifeblood of content creation, and their role in shaping the future of the industry should not be underestimated.

What's the Best Crypto to Buy Now?

  • B2C Listed the Top Rated Cryptocurrencies for 2023
  • Get Early Access to Presales & Private Sales
  • KYC Verified & Audited, Public Teams
  • Most Voted for Tokens on CoinSniper
  • Upcoming Listings on Exchanges, NFT Drops