How Do TV Shows Make Money? [Explained]

With the huge expansion of online platforms like netflix, hulu, disney plus, prime, crave etc. It’s common to wonder how TV shows make money given their declining audience.

This is TV shows are STILL making money today, despite the explosion of these platforms.

How TV Shows Are Making Money:

#1. Advertising (kinda)

Advertising is the original form of revenue for TV shows, and it’s still around today. Although it’s shrinking faster than a popsicle in Mexico it’s still important to mention. Most TV shows are roughly 20 minutes long which gives 20 ads slots at 30seconds each. Keep in mind this is per episode, which is why when series like game of thrones takes off, they try to milk out as many episodes and seasons as possible.

#2. Program Licensing

Remember those huge platforms I mentioned at the beginning? Well besides Netflix most of these platforms have TONS of subscribers, but very little content. So TV producers will license their shows to these huge platforms for a few years. Win, win.

#3. Format Sales (AKA Branding)

Think of some of the most popular shows, “Top Gear”, “Game of Thrones” these are not just shows. They are brands. When you have a popular brand you can make money by selling merchandise, trade shows, YouTube ads, events and many more ways.

The point is when you have a brand you have a loyal following. Just imagine if Nike started putting on marathon races, they’d be the most popular races in the world! It’s the same concept for TV shows.

#4. Experience, & Product Placements

Pay attention to the TV show set. What do you see? In most you’ll see an actor put down an unrecognizable water bottle after working out. But some shows you’ll see what is obviously a gatorade bottle. For most people this is completely unrecognizable. Now that I’ve mentioned it to you, you’ll start to see these product placements all over the place.

Experiences are also become a very big way that TV shows are making money. From live screenings, to meet the cast, to launches and more. Think of shows like America’s Got Talent, these shows have huge live audiences that are paying to be there.