Streaming giant Netflix is cutting back on production of original content in a money-saving exercise focused on creating fewer but higher quality shows.
Netflix released around 130 fewer original programmes in 2023 than the year before.
Hollywood strikes by writers and actors may have played a part in the decline, but Netflix says this did not impact its slate very much.
Rather, the streaming giant which is now the leading TV network in the world, plans to make fewer shows going forward with the focus being on quality, not quantity.
After increasing the number of new original programs for the last decade, output fell in every quarter last year, Bloomberg reported. That was true in every major programming category. Netflix released fewer movies, TV shows, documentaries and stand-up specials. In the final three months of 2023, Netflix had its lightest slate of new releases in five years, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg said while the company has said the strikes by writers and actors didn’t impact its slate much, output fell off a bit more in the second half of the year than the first. Netflix released about 60 fewer series in the second half, according to What’s On Netflix, a drop of about 25%.
The aftermath of the strikes will continue to impact Netflix’s release schedule for at least a couple of years. Streaming services had finished work on many of the shows scheduled for release in 2023, but they were just starting many titles due out in 2024 and 2025. Many of those programs have been delayed (or cancelled).
This is true for Hollywood as a whole. The movie slate in 2024 looks a little bare because a few big titles got pushed to 2025, Bloomberg said.
Netflix film chief Scott Stuber has outlined a strategy to make fewer (and hopefully better) projects, said Bloomberg, and while the strike may have reduced its output of new scripted programs, the service also released fewer new documentaries and stand-up specials -- two genres largely unaffected by the labour stoppage.