How Do TV Shows Make Money

Money is the major drive in any project. Everything that has a cost must definitely have a reward and what better way to reward a project if not by money realisation.

How Do TV Shows Make Money

The most important of all the goals of TV show production is money realisation. Production doesn't cost love or any other things alone but also money, sometimes a lot of money.

All television shows generate money from its TRP (target rating points). Revenue for the show will come from commercials and it is not changing for the foreseeable future. Advertisements and subscriptions have been the major way for funds generation. 

It would be left to the producer to choose or sell a suitable idea for the TV network. Producer gets money from the selling of the show to a network or networks co buying from the producer.

The network gets their money from the selling of the ads and subscription afterwards.


How much money can be realised from hosting of a tv show?

You can't possibly know how much money is made from a TV show, as it is not "views dependent" unless advertisement is involved, but we can give you the guide and guard you need to know on knowing, how much money TV shows make. 

People mistake money made to profit made, don't be a part of those people. Money made is the amount of money realised from the project irrespective of the cost.

Profit made is the amount of money made after the deduction of the cost. Let us take you through the journey on " HOW TV SHOWS MAKE MONEY" Deep study on financial life of TV shows; this shows that money made from TV shows are by the producers which is not necessarily an individual but a production house as well, but how this money is made can be from the selling of the broadcast right to TV broadcasters which is a network, who sell ads, subscriptions and everything marketable afterwards. 

Factors to be considered when selling a TV show
  • The cost of production 
  • Know your buyer
  • Know your show's worth

The amount of money made by TV shows are commercials dependent, since we are of the believe that, money generation by TV shows is invariably from commercials and Commercials are popularity dependent.

It is safe to say the higher the popularity the higher the tendency to generate funds.

On a globally normal scale, commercials on traditional TV shows cost $20 per a thousand views while broadcast TV shows cost $35 per a thousand views.

Let us take the most popular TV show according to wikipedia as an example; "super bowl xlix" with over 114.4 million viewers, it is safe to say a lot of money would be generated from commercials, $2,288,000,000 traditionally and $4,118,400,000 on broadcast TV.


Reality TV shows is a genre of television programming that shows or documents unscripted activities of people without providing them with a script or dialogue.

How do reality TV shows make money?

Revenue generation for reality TV shows are basically from the selling of airing rights of the series, there are other ways to generate revenue but basically it is from airing rights selling.

Other ways to make money from reality TV shows are, subscription and commercials, ads to be precise. Different from the normal TV shows, reality shows revenue generation from ads is for a long time probably till the show lasts.

As different as reality TV shows are from other TV shows it depends on TRP as well.


As we know that the major source of revenue for a TV show is commercials, that of movies are viewers based and wide.

Movies and TV shows are both investments but which is more profitable?

Investments comes after a thing must have cost something. How much does movie production cost to TV shows cost. 

A movie can cost millions of dollars per hour while TV shows will likely cost lower because its shooting is expected to last longer and more major characters are mostly used in its production, therefore, the aggregate cost for the production of a TV show is higher than that for the production of a movie.

Which brings more money?

Let us use one of the most successful movies of all time, let us take "star wars ii (the force awoken)" The force awoken was announced after the Walt Disney company acquisition of Lucas film in October 2012.

It has a budget of $259-306 million and ticket sale of over 2billions. A worldwide gross of over $2billion. A net profit of over $780million was made.

Let us take "Game of thrones" series as a sample for TV shows.

Game of thrones is a series that was created by  David Beinoff and D. B. Weiss for HBO. After 8 seasons of 73 episodes with 566 characters, HBO have spent $1,460,600,000 on the production of the series.

Huge amount right?

With earnings from HBO subscriptions and other avenues;

Game of thrones earning statistics

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4 

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7 

Season 8


Which leaves HBO with a profit of $1,658,411,857.71 and game of thrones as one of the most successful and profitable series in the history of TV shows.

With HBO realising a profit of over $1.6billion over years and Walt Disney, a profit of $780million over a year. 

We can come to the conclusion that movies makes money faster than TV shows while TV shows make more money than movies.


For effective running of netflix, it needs to keep updating its service.

Netflix makes upfront payment to individual shows. The Netflix team analyse a show, check its market value then offer what they can pay to the producer or the TV network for the licensing for them to have access to the show, so that it can be streamed and watched by netflix subscribers.

For every TV shows, there should be a target audience, for producers whose target audience is Netflix, they only need to make their show marketable and asked for, netflix would come running with money to them.

How much does netflix pay for licensing content?

It varies, it is based on variable market values of shows and its popularity. For example, according to filmtake, Netflix spent $13billion on content licensing.

TV shows make money from Netflix by selling streaming license to Netflix.

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