These Were the Most In-Demand TV Shows Based on Books Last Year | Charts

A wave of shows based on books has won over audiences recently. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” was a huge success for Disney+. “Shōgun” is currently dominating audience attention as it releases episodes weekly.

On the longer term horizon, some of the most popular book series of all time are due to be adapted for the small screen. Warner Bros. Discovery is planning a “Harry Potter” series to be released in 2026 and Lionsgate recently announced that a new animated series based on the “Twilight” franchise is in the works. It’s no surprise why decision-makers are eager to invest in book adaptations specifically, and more generally, any adaptation of existing IP: These shows are seen as tested and have existing fan bases that will help to de-risk an adaptation relative to an entirely original new series.

A look at the past three years confirms that book adaptations have significantly higher demand on average than shows not based on a book. That advantage hit a new high in 2023 when the average series adapted from a book had 2.12x demand compared to the average show not based on a book, which had 1.19x demand.

But the real value of adapting existing literary IP is helping a show’s first season to be a success. This is, in some ways, the most critical time to de-risk a production when a show is untested. When we specifically look at season one releases, the demand premium for being based on a book is much more pronounced. In 2022 and 2023, the average new series based on a book had around three times more demand than the average new series not based on a book.

The high correlation between a show’s demand and its ability to attract and retain subscribers for streaming platforms means that these book adaptations are more likely to deliver value for streamers.  We also know that the higher the demand for a show’s first season, the better its odds of being renewed, meaning that fans are less likely to be left in the lurch with an abruptly canceled show when it is based on a book.

The most in-demand new series based on books to premiere in 2023 span a range of genres, indicating it is not just a particular genre of literary adaptations driving higher demand for shows based on books. From supernatural shows (“Wolf Pack,” “Mayfair Witches”) to romance (“Queen Charlotte”) to action (“Justified: City Primeval,” “The Night Agent”), last year there were highly in-demand book adaptations to satisfy audiences of all types.

The most in-demand new show based on a book to premiere in 2023 was the dystopian sci-fi drama “Silo” from Apple TV+, which had 20.95x the average series demand for the year.  In fact, two of the three most in-demand new shows based on a book are Apple TV+ originals.

Of the Top 20 most in-demand new shows in 2023 based on a book, five are Apple TV+ originals — the highest number for any platform in the Top 20. That’s all the more impressive given the relatively smaller Apple TV+ catalog. This may be one explanation for the platform’s particularly strong track record when it comes to the hit rate of its series. It seems to be investing in book adaptations, which is a solid way to de-risk production and help increase the probability of a successful premiere.

Christofer Hamilton is a senior insights analyst at Parrot Analytics, a WrapPRO partner. For more from Parrot Analytics, visit the Data and Analysis Hub.

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