Many on Wall Street and in Hollywood wonder about Netflix’s plan to keep boosting original-content spending as major suppliers like Disney and WarnerMedia aim to pull their content from the streaming service. But new research shows the strategy appears to be working.
Netflix original content accounted for 37% of all streams on the platform in October, up from 24% a year earlier and 14% in January 2017, according to a study by 7Park Data.
Programming made by Fox offers a possible glimpse at the future of Netflix. The studio’s content represented 24% of all Netflix streams in January 2017, the study said, but as many of those titles migrated to Hulu, the percentage shrunk to just 4% in October 2018, even as overall Netflix viewing continued to rise.
While Netflix originals own six of the top 10 slots on 7Park’s ranking of the top 10 shows overall on Netflix, it is worth noting that No. 1 by a landslide is NBCUniversal’s The Office, and No. 3 is Friends. The latter sitcom has been in a tug of war in recent days, with both AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Netflix retaining streaming rights to the Warner Bros show in 2019.
Disney and WarnerMedia both plan to launch ambitious general-audience streaming services in the fourth quarter of next year and have signaled that they will gradually pull titles back from Netflix. That withdrawal won’t be easy, as the industry — especially talent — have become accustomed to paydays of eight or nine figures for streaming rights. With a total content budget of $13 billion, Netflix has never balked at writing big checks. Traditional rivals have to not only forego that revenue but face the start-up costs of beaming their programming direct to consumers.
The study’s results derive from independent research conducted by 7Park based on opt-in, anonymized Internet viewing behavior. The reach of 7Park’s global panel (which includes Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video customers) is more than 3.5 million active viewers, about three million of them in the U.S.
While three of the top four shows on the overall top 10 were non-Netflix originals (including Grey’s Anatomy at No. 4), the company’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina registered a strong No. 2. Nos. 5 through 9, respectively, were House of Cards, The Great British Baking Show, Marvel’s Daredevil, Narcos: Mexico and The Haunting of Hill House.