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Apple, Amazon and Netflix barely cancel shows? They use big data.

You need reams of data, and legions of computer analysts to produce great engaging programming. What you don't need are writers. Screw them...I hope they stay on the picket line.


2023 has seen an astounding number of TV series come to a close, with an estimated 108 shows being canceled or ending to-date. In the past week alone ABC’s ‘The Wonder Years’ and HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ have been axed, while rumors circulate that BBC’s motoring megahit ‘Top Gear’ is also on the chopping block. Fans have also bid farewell to all-time favorites this year, including Hulu comedy ‘The Great’, Netflix thriller ‘You’, and CBS mainstay ‘NCIS Los Angeles’.

In the relentless war for attention, TV series have become collateral damage, particularly during the ongoing writer’s and actor’s strikes. Streaming platforms like Disney+ are culling their content catalogs aggressively: some fully completed shows, including ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’, won’t make it to air at all, helping Disney book a $1.5bn tax write-off in its most recent quarter.

Against the stream

An analysis of TV data from Variety found that 26.6% of shows on broadcast networks have been canceled in the past 3 years, compared with 12.2% overall for streaming and just 7.2% for cable. Indeed, cable networks manage to maintain a low rate of cancellation due to the sheer volume of its output and endurance of its programming, with cable programs lasting an average of 2.64 series before being canceled, in contrast to just 1.62 for streaming platforms.

Amongst the streamers, HBO’s Max had the highest overall cancellation rate, dropping 26.9% of its series between 2020-23. By contrast, although Netflix saw the most series being canceled overall (103), this equated to only 10.2% of shows in its vast library — while Apple TV+ had the lowest cancellation rate by far (4.9%), owing to a ‘quality-over-quantity’ approach in producing its own content.

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