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Peak TV Placed In Perspective At Series Mania As Research Shows It Would Take 350 Years To Watch Everything On Streaming

Peak TV just got put into perspective. Asked at a Series Mania session about the volume of TV being made, European Commission official Lucia Recalde broke out an estimate that it would take over three centuries to watch everything currently on streaming services.

“We have estimated the amount of time that would take you to watch all the content that is available today on streaming platforms,” she said. “350 years, and I’m not counting user-generated content, I’m not counting video games – I’m not counting all forms of entertainment. That’s the level of competition that all the media companies are facing today in the cellphone attention economy.”

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Recalde is Head of Unit within the European Commission’s division for digital, DG Connect. She produced the estimate based on data from the Audiovisual Observatory, which is in turn part of the Council of Europe. The Observatory put together the Key Trends in TV session at Series Mania.

In the session, an opening slide projected onto the big screen read ‘Warning Signs?’ which likely did not put the minds of the producers in a packed room at rest. It showed a drop-off in the number of seasons of scripted programming made in the U.S. in 2023, and also in the number of European films commissioned by streamers.

Recalde broke out the 350-year factoid after being asked by co-moderator and Audiovisual Observatory Department Head Gilles Fontaine whether a drop-off in commissioning and industry transformation should cause alarm. “Let me answer you with a question,” she replied. “Was the level of production of the last years sustainable? And maybe the answer is maybe not.”

The one producer sitting on the panel pushed back against the idea of questioning how much TV gets made. Pandora Gagnon Da Cunha Telles runs Portugal-based Ukbar Filmes and is Vice President of the industry association the European Producers Club.

“We never say there’s too many painkillers or medicines or drugs that are being produced,” she said. “But when we speak about the culture and entertainment industry, we always have the sensation that maybe there’s too much. We never compare it with other sources of industry in the world.”

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