Streaming audiences crave character commitment

Together with

The Future. In 2023, audiences rewarded popular, long-running, throwback shows (Suits, Friends, NCIS) with outsized viewership, turning older series into fresh hits. Partly a consequence of strike delays, a push for committed comfort viewing, and the “Netflix effect,” streamers could start to invest in longer-running series (but fewer overall shows) as a way to both boost engagement and cut costs.

It seems like people are getting tired of watching shows with only a season or two available.

  • According to Nielsen’s rankings, the top 10 most-watched shows in 2023 were all series acquired from networks or cable brands —  this includes the big winner of the year, Suits, at a sky-high 52 billion minutes viewed.
  • The Top 10 shows logged a cumulative 339.5 billion minutes of streaming — the biggest total in four years (when Nielsen started releasing end-of-year totals).
  • This makes it the first time that no streaming originals cracked the Top 10 in four years, even though overall streaming viewership grew by 21%.

Last year’s Top 10 shows were so popular that they accounted for a total of 3% of all streaming in 2023.

It clearly pays off to have hit syndication… but having 100+ episodes ain’t as easy as it sounds.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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