Netflix executives are betting the company’s future on original shows and movies, and subscribers are enjoying the content so far, according to new research.
AllFlicks, a site that tracks Netflix’s catalog, pulled data for Business Insider that shows Netflix’s originals get better ratings on average than other Netflix content (such as TV shows licensed from legacy networks). Netflix originals have an average rating of 3.87 stars (out of 5), higher than the 3.47 stars “other content” averages. Originals perform 11.5% better.
Netflix scores the highest with its original documentaries, which average 4.03 stars, compared to 3.58 for non-“original” documentaries.
Here is a chart that shows how Netflix’s originals perform next to its other licensed content:
Netflix has ramped up its production of original content by a yearly average of 185.41% since 2012, and its roster has now reached about 111 titles. In January, Netflix’s head of content, Ted Sarandos, announced that Netflix will release 600 hours of original content this year, including 31 original shows.
CEO Reed Hastings, and other Netflix executives, have described originals as a better investment for the company.
“We have gone into [original content] very conservative relative to licensing, and found it has been much more impactful,”CFO David Wells said last fall.
This new research shows that at least one piece of that is true: Netflix subscribers seem to like its original content more than they like the rest of Netflix’s catalog. Subscriber happiness (and by extension, retention and growth) is Netflix’s most important metric of success, so this is great news for the company.
But how good of an “investment” originals are is harder to determine, as they are expensive to produce. That might be one reason why Netflix’s US catalog has shrunk by 31.7% since the start of 2014, even as content spending has increased to $5 billion in 2016.