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Netflix Beats All Others on Originals, Says Hub Entertainment Research

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More and more shows and movies available on TV platforms are being prominently branded as "original." Hub’s just-released "Evolution of Video Branding" study explores what consumers assume about content labeled “original” and how the term influences viewing decisions.

Highlights from the study:

1. Simply branding a show or movie as an "original" boosts interest in viewing, especially among young consumers.

  • 70% of 16-34 year olds say that the term “original” makes them more interested in watching a show or movie than they otherwise would be—including 25% who say that term alone makes them “a lot more interested”.
  • Older consumers are a bit less likely to be won over by the term "original" alone, but 53% of 35+ viewers still say the term boosts their interest.

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2. Out of all traditional TV networks and streaming services, viewers are most likely to name Netflix as the TV source with the best originals.  

What’s more, Netflix wins by a wide margin: the percent choosing Netflix (29%) is five times higher than the percent choosing the second-ranked source (CBS, at 6%).

  • Among 16-34 year olds, the margin between Netflix and the second-ranked source (Disney+, at 7%) is wider than it is among all viewers. 
  • But even 35+ viewers pick Netflix as having the best originals (24%), with no other source reaching double digits.

3. Even as Netflix continues to expand its original content catalog, viewers see no evidence of any dilution in quality—on the contrary, they're 3 times more likely to think Netflix originals are better now than to think they’re worse.

  • 48% of those familiar with Netflix think the service's original shows and movies are better than in the past.
  • Only 16% feel they’re not as good.
  • The remaining 37% see no difference in quality over time.

4. For young viewers, the strength of Netflix originals helps make the service their most indispensable content source, by far.

  • When asked to pick the TV networks or streaming sources they’d keep if they could only keep five, 44% of 16-34 year olds choose Netflix—nearly 20 points higher than second-ranked Disney+.
  • Those aged 35+ are most likely to choose CBS in their top-five must-have networks, although Netflix is tied for second with NBC and ABC.

5. Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+'s announcements about their 2021 exclusive content lineup strongly drove signups to each service.

We asked consumers who subscribed to each service in December or January about the impact of these content announcements…

  • Among those who had heard that Netflix would be releasing a new original movie each week, 88% say it was a reason for signing up—including 59% calling it their main reason for subscribing.
  • Among those who had heard that all 2021 Warner movies would be released on HBO Max on the same day as theatrical release, 77% call it a reason for subscribing, with 48% saying it was their main reason.
  • Among those who had heard that Disney+ would be the exclusive home for certain new films and franchise titles, 68% name it as a reason for signing up, with 21% calling it their main reason.

6. We see the draw of exclusive content in a question we asked of those who say they’ve signed up to a TV service in order to watch a single show or movie.

  • Netflix is well-represented among the ten titles most likely to have driven subscription, but so is Disney+ and HBO Max.

"So far, Netflix has not only withstood the threats posed by new entrants in the ever-intensifying streaming wars—it has thrived," said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. "But WarnerMedia’s and Disney's moves to prioritize streaming distribution are already reaping rewards and have the potential to significantly disrupt the TV service pecking order. What remains to be seen is whether this streaming-first strategy will transform HBO Max and Disney+ into Netflix replacements, or whether they’ll remain as Netflix supplements."

The data cited here come from Hub's "Evolution of Video Branding" study, conducted among 1,606 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data were collected in February 2021. 

Since 2013, Hub Entertainment Research has measured and tracked how technology changes the ways consumers discover, choose and consume entertainment content.  We work with the largest networks, pay TV operators, streaming providers, and studios.  To learn more visit https://hubresearchllc.com

[Editor's Note: This is a lightly edited press release.]

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