HBO’s Max Is Canceling Most Shows on Streaming Service, Study Shows – Variety

WBD’s Macs took the heavy ax from 2020 to 2023, while Apple TV+ was more merciful.

The streaming era began with the promise of growing shows without fear of ratings pressure and quick cancellations. Of course, it was a lark. Soon, the streamers began cutting shows as quickly and brutally as any Nielsen-obsessed broadcaster, and they all chimed in with the same complaint: “Streamers are canceling everything! Nothing more than a season!”

How true is that really? After all, streamers are looking for shows that are just as successful as traditional networks. If a show gets more viewers than its production cost, it gets renewed. Otherwise, it is cancelled. This has been the case since the days of black-and-white television.

To get to the heart of the matter, Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP+) and Luminate collaborated on a data analysis to determine how often leading US-based streaming and linear programmers canceled TV series over the past three years. New Report, The show must go off,” A thorough statistical analysis aimed at settling one of the most hotly contested debates in the television industry.

Data includes all canceled shows (scripted and unscripted) from 2020 to August 8, 2023. As seen in the chart below, major streamers (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Max, Apple TV+, Peacock, Paramount+) had an overall average cancellation rate of 12.2% – not much higher than linear TV (10.8%), but impacting broadcast TV over the period. less.

Warner Bros. Discovery-owned Max (formerly HBO Max) was the worst when it came to canceling shows, at 26.9%. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Max has been churning out a huge amount of content since the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger ended in 2022. After CEO David Zaslau took the reins, „Minx,” „Love Life” and an entire line of children’s programming were axed in an effort to reduce the company’s considerable debt. HBO originals weren’t spared, either, as „Westworld” was axed after four seasons in November 2022.

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While Netflix is ​​often used as the prime example of a streamer that „cancels everything,” the streaming service found that it actually canceled 10.2% of its shows during the measured period — fifth in the industry. That includes high-profile cancellations for shows like the live-action „Cowboy Bebop” within a month of its 2021 opening.

An important caveat to this study: the size of programs at different sites varies widely. Part of what made Netflix a magnet for cancellation criticism was the sheer volume of its original content — compared to Peacock, for example.

Contrary to Netflix’s reputation as a hair-digger series executioner, the streaming service was the only one of the eight services tracked in the study to improve its cancellation rate every year from 2020 to 2023, a trigger finger that’s gotten busier over time. .

Apple TV+ had the lowest cancellation rate of any outlet ever, at just 4.9%. This is partly reflected in the lack of any scheduled programming on the streaming service. The tech giant’s streaming arm has renewed its Emmy-winning comedy „Dead Lasso” (which ended on its own terms earlier this year after three seasons) and dramas like „The Morning Show” ahead of fourth seasons. The latest season 3 premiere. Some of the shows that have actually been canceled on Apple TV+ include “Mr. Corman starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt”, “Santaram” starring Charlie Hunnam and “High Desert” starring Patricia Arquette.

Finally, when looking at the total number of series killed in linear and streaming, there is no significant difference. As seen in the chart below, there were 221 cancellations across all major streamers from 2020-2023, compared to 193 cancellations in linear TV.

The report also found that platforms tend to cancel first-season shows more often than shows that have aired for longer, whether streaming or linear. Streaming platforms had a slight tendency to pull the plug earlier, while broadcast and cable were a bit more patient — though the difference wasn’t significant.

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Whether TV’s cancellation rate has worsened over time (and some may perceive it), the Luminate data suggests otherwise. Overall, rates for streaming, linear TV and series-TV have declined in consecutive years from 2020 to 2023, with particularly dramatic declines in the past year, as the Hollywood WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes pinched the content-TV pipeline.

Those numbers and more data findings (see details below) can be accessed in a new VIP+ special report, available only to subscribers.

Other data highlights include charts and analysis covering variations of TV for 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 (to date), total streaming, total broadcast, total cable, total linear TV; Or individually: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, Max, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock TV, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW; Cable groups for AMC Networks, Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, Lionsgate/STARS, Amazon/MGM.

• Annual cancellation rates

Total seasons released

A total unique series

Total series cancellation

Limited serial release

Stock of finite series vs continuous series

Total projected results

The share of planned results was canceled against

Streaming scripted and unscripted stand-alone series released

Cancellation rates of scripted and non-scripted

Share of canceled shows across comedy, drama, animation, unscripted shows

Average number of seasons before cancellation

Share of cancellations by series length (1 to 6+ seasons)

Unique original series stock and not owned

Cancel payments The original series is owned and not owned

Total cancellation The original series is owned and not owned

Luminate is an independently operated company owned by PME TopCo, a joint venture between Penske Media Corporation and Eldridge. Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP+) is a subsidiary of Variety parent company Penske Media Corporation.

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