How do TV Shows Make Money? (Answered)

TV shows are such a common, daily part of our lives these days that we often don’t ask questions about how they operate. We take it for granted that these shows are produced for our entertainment and don’t think about the fact that they need to make money for their creators. When a show that we love is canceled, we are mad, but we usually don’t understand the financial reasons for this choice.

If you have ever wondered how TV shows make money, you are not alone. Many people are curious about this process but don’t know anyone in the TV industry. Like many other markets, there are various ways that your favorite TV shows make money for their creators and producers.

How do TV Shows Become Profitable?

Most TV shows make the primary bulk of their income from advertising and syndications. Product placement is the other key part of monetization that many shows utilize. If you think about your favorite sitcom or regularly-produced show, you will remember that they were drinking soda or brushing their teeth with a specific product. Sometimes the product is even mentioned by name in the script.

These kinds of product placement spots can pay really well, depending on the product that wants to have a spot on a show. The more popular a show is, the more of these kinds of deals the creators can harness for income. 

In today’s streaming service reality, subscription dollars also help TV shows to become profitable. That is why many of the biggest streaming services make their own content that is unique to their platform. Not only will people buy a subscription just to see specific content, the content will also make money in all the other ways that we have already mentioned. 

Streaming services also can leverage things like deals for specific viewers who only want to see certain shows. Reduced-price subscriptions and other kinds of attractive offers can get people through the door and connected with the platform to watch even more shows.

Merchandise is another key aspect of TV show monetization. Action figures, shirts, hats, and all kinds of products that are made with the TV show’s characters and branding can be produced. These kinds of branding items and merchandise offerings can offer a secondary source of income that is relatively easy to access, particularly for very popular shows. 

TV networks and producers of shows can also get sponsorships from specific brands. This product placement is of longer duration than just an episode or two. In this kind of instance, the brand might become a character’s favorite product and be featured in many episodes as part of the writing of the show itself. An example would be a character who loves Oreos, and they appear at least once during each episode.

TV Shows Have to Make Money to Survive

TV shows are very expensive to produce. It is important that these shows make money for their creators, or they will inevitably end up canceled. Without income streams flowing in, TV shows cannot hope to remain on streaming services or mainstream television for long. 

This article was last updated on August 21, 2023 .

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By Adam

The Display Blog staff account. We know display.