Since it started producing its own shows in 2013, Netflix has gone all-in on original content.
CEO Reed Hastings and content chief Ted Sarandos have repeatedly emphasised that original content is the future of the platform, and that Netflix wants to drastically increase its output of new shows.
Hastings has also worked hard to promote the idea that Netflix can consistently outperform other companies in producing quality shows because of its treasure trove of data. He characterises Netflix a “data machine,” one that knows exactly what TV show you want to watch, and then gives it to you.
Is it true?
Some research has suggested that Netflix is, indeed, better at making shows than major networks like ABC and Fox. Exstreamist’s Rob Toledo recently looked at data from the reviews-website Rotten Tomatoes, from 2013 to the present, and saw that Netflix came out ahead of all the major broadcast networks in the eyes of critics.
But these networks are not the only ones Netflix competes with. In fact, most Netflix shows feel closer to those produced by cable (and premium) networks like AMC, FX, Showtime, or HBO.
How does Netflix stack up against them?
Andrew Dodson from Cut Cable Today has done new analysis that looks at how good Netflix shows are in comparison to these more niche (or “edgy”) networks. To get a reliable rating, Dodson used the two most popular review-aggregating sites, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes (both of which rate on a scale of 1-100). He looked at the data from shows going back to 2000 to get a sense of how Netflix fared next to these competitors.
Here is a chart of what he found:
Notably absent was Hulu, which Dodson says didn’t have enough reviews data. Netflix came in fourth, behind HBO, Showtime, and FX:
1. HBO: 82.3
2. Showtime: 75.1
3. FX: 74
4. Netflix: 73.6
5. AMC: 73.5
6. Amazon: 71.8
7. Starz: 71.6
8. USA Network: 65.2
This data suggests that while Netflix has had success in creating shows, there is no silver bullet.
“Netflix is like any other network, with hits and misses, and we do not expect its data advantage to provide it with a better batting average,” analysts from Morgan Stanley wrote in an investor note.
But it seems too early in Netflix’s content-making future to decide whether Netflix executives or Morgan Stanley are right about this, especially since Netflix’s two latest releases, “Master of None” and “Jessica Jones,” have scored its top critic reviews of all time.
Perhaps Netflix hasn’t even completely warmed up yet.
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