Audiences think Netflix original movies are 'meaningfully worse' than most studio releases

NetflixChris Rock and Adam Sandler in the Netflix original film ‘The Week of.’
  • Audiences see Netflix original films as “meaningfully worse” in quality than the releases of most major films studios, according to new research from Barclays.
  • The firm analysed IMDB audience ratings for all films released by Netflix and the top six studios at the global box office this year, and Netflix ranked sixth overall in median score, behind the top five studios.

While Netflix has ramped up its original film production to net a substantial viewership, audiences still view the streaming service’s film offerings as qualitatively inferior to the releases from most major film studios, according to new research from Barclays, led by analyst Kannan Venkateshwar.

As Barclays notes, Netflix recently reported that the 33 original movies the company has released in 2018 so far have gained an audience of around 300 million viewers (or an average of around 9 million viewers per film).

Barclays said that Netflix’s audience for original films this year would equate to an estimated global box office performance of more than $US4 billion.

But in the eyes of audiences, Netflix films are still “meaningfully worse” in quality than most studio releases, according to Barclays.

To assess audience perception of film quality, the firm analysed the median IMDB audience ratings for all original movies released by Netflix and the top six studios at the global box office in 2018. It found that Netflix’s films ranked sixth overall in median score, behind the top five studios and only ahead of Paramount.

Imdb ratings netflixBarclays

In a few notable instances, Netflix’s strategy for original films has gained viewership despite negative critical (or even audience) perception of quality.

This year, Netflix bought the film “The Cloverfield Paradox” from Paramount for $US50 million and surprise released it after the Super Bowl in February. Though it brought in an estimated 5 million viewers in its first week, the film was panned by critics and scored low audience ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.

Last year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings pointed to high Rotten Tomatoes audience scores for its Will Smith-led fantasy film “Bright” as the “measurement of success” that the company cited against critical panning of the film.

While Hastings blasted critics for being “disconnected from the mass appeal” of its strategy in releasing films like “Bright,” which drew 11 million viewers in its first three days of release, it appears that the company still has some major ground to make up in its stated attempt to win over the masses.

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