How Streaming Is Turning the Tides on Broadcast Pilots

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How Streaming Is Turning the Tides on Broadcast Pilots

By Allyson Vannatta, Staff Writer

As streaming services continue to make a boom in the media landscape, studios are more focused on providing content for their own streaming platform instead of on broadcast television.

Television pilots are affected most by this new trend. ABC Studios and 20th TV have 14 pilot sales between the two of them this pilot season. That’s down from a combined 33 last year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Last year, ABC Studios and 20th TV led the way with the most combined pilots; while this year the media giants came in second place.

ABC Studios and 20th TV are both part of a larger picture than the average consumer may realize. The two studios are making the shift to focus first on supplying content to Disney as their media platforms continue to grow. Disney owns the streamers Disney+ and Hulu, along with ABC, Freeform, FX, and NatGeo.

Disney will continue to sell to outside broadcasters. However their most important priority is to generate in-house content.

The Hollywood Reporter says the decline in pilot sales isn’t just because of streaming, though. It notes that broadcast networks just aren’t picking up as many pilots anymore. Between the five networks, only 57 pilots have been picked up this year. This comes after 2019’s 10-year low of pilot sales.

Two studios are moving beyond the traditional January through May pilot season, which could play a part in the low numbers.

Karey Burke, entertainment president of ABC, intends to grow development into a “second cycle,” says the Hollywood Reporter.

This cycle will stay open for new scripts and pilots past the usual May deadline. Year-round development is becoming the new thing in Hollywood with studios now turning to the system that streamers have been using for years.

This new system kills the syndication market. So, instead of studios syndicating their shows on popular streamers like Netflix, they’re now keeping original content for their own streaming services.