Netflix is spending more on content than rivals by billions — and its customers continue to give Netflix’s original programming higher marks than the rest of the field.
As of Feb. 7, 2019, Netflix customers gave the streamer’s original content a score of 81 out of 100, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. That’s up 2.5% since the research firm’s May 2018 report on the streaming sector.
Netflix has a two-point edge over its next-closest competitor, HBO Now, which rose 2.6% over the same time period to 79. Amazon Prime Video notched a 76 score (up 4%), while Hulu gained a point to 75. CBS All Access fell, from 76 to 75, while YouTube’s originals held steady with a score of 72, per the ASCI.
Of course, what Netflix giveth, Netflix taketh away. As with other services and TV networks, Netflix’s content lineup changes all the time. Fans of Netflix’s Marvel street-hero shows have been upset that the series are officially ending, with “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones” the final two to get canceled — prompting a denunciation from “Punisher” fanboy Eminem in a tweet Wednesday. The end of Netflix’s Marvel shows comes as Disney preps the launch of its own Disney+ streaming service in late 2019.
Netflix is expected to spend some $15 billion on content in 2019, and about 85% of new spending is on originals, content chief Ted Sarandos said at an investment conference last year. As of last fall, Netflix had 245 original series on the service and another 257 in development, according to Ampere Analysis.
Netflix ended 2018 with 139 million paid streaming members worldwide, gaining 8.8 million overall subscribers in the fourth quarter, its biggest-ever Q4 increase. The company is hiking prices in the U.S. and other territories in the first half of 2019, with the standard plan rising from $10.99 to $12.99 per month, which could slow sub growth.
To try to demonstrate that its spending on original content is paying off, Netflix has recently been selectively doling out internal viewing stats.
Last month, the company claimed “Bird Box” was on track to be viewed by 80 million subscribers in the first four weeks after its Dec. 21 release (among those who watched to at least 70% completion). Netflix also said drama “You,” picked up after its debut on Lifetime, and British dramedy “Sex Education” expected to have 40 million viewers in their first four weeks on Netflix (although its tabulations for series include anyone who watched even just one episode to 70% completion).
But besides the fact that the numbers can’t be directly corroborated, Netflix has been notably silent on the relative popularity — or, as the case may be, unpopularity — of the rest of its originals slate.
Data for the most recent streaming original content scores came from ACSI’s survey about 9,000 U.S. consumers. The company bases its customer-satisfaction studies on regular surveys, polling about 300,000 Americans annually.
Pictured above: Netflix original film “Bird Box,” starring Sandra Bullock