Number of TV series in US declined in 2020 for first time: analysts

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The coronavirus pandemic has paralysed Hollywood intermittently since early 2020, disrupting filming

The number of television series that broadcast or streamed new episodes in the United States in 2020 was down on the previous year for the first time since the tally began, analysts said Friday.

Last year, some 493 episodic fiction programs were offered on traditional television or online platforms, a decline of seven percent in a year, said FX Research, a subsidiary of the Disney group.

But 2019 was a record high at 532 programs, or two and a half times the offer available only ten years earlier.

With the arrival of new platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Peacock between November 2019 and July 2020, a swarm of new series has invaded the small screens in recent months.

But the coronavirus pandemic has paralysed Hollywood intermittently since early 2020, disrupting filming ever since.

FX Research does not provide any analysis on the downturn, the first since the group began publishing these figures annually in 2009; nor does it give details of distribution channels.

In recent years, the figures showed that while the number of series offered by online platforms has exploded, those broadcast on American cable were less numerous, as were those broadcast on the major national channels.

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