Max wields heaviest ax in streaming, Apple bites less often

Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming platform Max cancels series at the highest rate while Apple TV+ is the most merciful, new research shows.

A lot can be said about streaming services. Yes, there’s a huge online library of content, and even if you have to pay, you’re usually tempted to try one or another streamer.

The downside is that major platforms do indeed cancel popular or expensive shows left, right, and center. Of course, even if your favorite one is killed off, there are still hundreds to choose from, right?

But those ones could also face the ax pretty soon. In short, consistency – if that’s what you’re looking for on a platform – is hard to find these days. However, it’s possible to measure what could be your best bet.

A new report by Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP+) and Luminate explored some data to determine how often the leading streaming – and linear – programmers have canceled TV series over the past three years.

The major streamers – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, and Paramount+ – had a combined average cancellation rate of 12.2%. This is not much higher than linear TV, often referred to as traditional broadcast TV (10.8%). The data covers all shows that prematurely ended between 2020 and August this year.

It turns out that Max, formerly HBO Max, is by far the most brutal: it killed more than a quarter of all its original TV series (26.9%). To be fair, this is not a huge surprise as Max has purged a hefty chunk of content – including, for example, the hit show Westworld – since the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery in 2022.

Netflix cancellations are highly visible since the platform is very popular and produces a great deal of original content in comparison to, say, Max or Peacock. But, actually, the streaming giant only axed 10.2% of its original shows in the period measured, the report shows.

Besides, Netflix is becoming more consistent. Contrary to its reputation as a serial executioner of its TV shows, the streamer has improved its cancellation rate steadily since 2020 to become less trigger-happy.

However, Apple TV+ had the lowest cancellation rate of any platform, at just 4.9%. This could be explained by the comparatively modest size of the streamer’s library in the first place – decision-makers at the outlet must surely choose carefully what kind of content to invest in.

And patience pays off. The report found that, whether streaming or linear, platforms tend to mostly cancel first-season shows rather than the series that had been on the air longer.

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