With successes like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Aziz Ansari’s latest Master of None, it probably comes as no surprise that Netflix is planning to spend $5 billion on content next year.
Now, that number isn’t just for original content. It also includes movie and traditional licensing costs. But if you look at 2013, when Netflix spent $2 billion on content, there was still plenty of original content released.
Expect more in the coming year.
BGR reported on Netflix’s big spend earlier this month. And while the high dollar amount is newsworthy enough, there was a line at the end of the report that caught our attention:
“Netflix may have a few duds in the rotation, but by and large, they have a higher batting average when it comes to delivering well-received shows than any other content producer on the planet.”
What does that exactly mean? Are all Netflix originals, on average, better than HBO, Showtime, FX, or Amazon Prime originals? Is there even a metric for that?
Does Netflix really have a better batting average?
Earlier this year, FX President John Landgraf took exception to this notion. In a radio interview, he said, “Netflix has made 14 shows. Take any 14 shows we’ve made; they’re better. Any 14 shows, on average, our shows are better.”
So, we decided it was time to find out the truth. Is Netflix producing the best original shows on average? Or are they getting bested by other content producers?
Of course, to determine something so subjective, you need some kind of constant to measure a show’s success. Even if there were hard numbers out there showing how many times a show has been streamed or viewed, it still wouldn’t speak to a particular show being “well-received.”
But there are some loyal critic sites that have a solid following. Ratings from those sites might be the fairest way to go.
We averaged the rating of all original shows from nine pay TV channels and services. We used ratings from Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. Metacritic tends to be more critical, while Rotten Tomatoes is a little bit more favorable. Both ratings are on a 1-100 scale.
If a show had multiple seasons, Metacritic broke it into separate ratings. We averaged all seasons for an overall score.
We then averaged all of the shows for that channel or service to get an overall score. If a rating wasn’t available from one of the sites, we would take the rating or average rating from just the one available sites.
Things were going quite well with this methodology until we got to Hulu originals. When it comes to the number popular originals, Hulu isn’t lacking against its competitors at Netflix and HBO. What it is lacking is ratings on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. Shows like Quick Draw and Doozers didn’t have a rating on either of the sites. That could mean there aren’t enough Hulu subscribers out there to watch and review the show. It also likely skewed Hulu’s overall rating higher. As a result, we’ll show you the available numbers, but won’t include it in our rankings list.
This list includes shows produced by each channel or provider, even if they are no longer on the air. Shows before 2000 (with the exception of The Sopranos) weren’t included. Shows without rating on either of the sites used for this survey also weren’t included.
Here’s our list, in order, for channels and services with the best original programming:
1. HBO: 82.3
2. Showtime: 75.1
3. FX: 74
4. Netflix: 73.6
5. AMC: 73.5
6. Amazon: 71.8
7. Starz: 71.6
8. USA Network: 65.2
* Hulu scored 75.8, but less than half of its original shows had ratings on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes.
So, yes, while Netflix does have some highly rated shows, the streamer doesn’t necessarily have a higher batting average in delivering original content. In fact there are at least three other content providers on this planet, based on user critiques, that put out better programming.
A few notes:
* The highest rated show on HBO that’s currently on the air is Game of Thrones, at 92. It’s rated behind The Sopranos and and The Wire, shows that ended in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
* Master of None, on Netflix, received a 100 rating on Rotten Tomatoes (it was recently released), resulting in an overall score of 96, the highest score for the streaming service.
* Grace and Frankie (56), Marco Polo (36) and Between (34) were the lowest rated shows on Netflix, bringing its average rating down.
* Starz has surprisingly popular — and scary — shows that don’t receive as much press as HBO or Showtime programming.
* As Netflix creates more original programming, it may not want to get too out of hand. Having one or two shows, but 10 to 15 lousy ones may not bode well for the streaming provider.
* HBO, the ratings winner, has very few shows in their first or second season, which could be a concern looking down the road as some of their most popular shows are now in their 4th, 5th or 6th season.
* FX President John Landgraf has to feel validated that his network’s originals have a higher average rating than Netflix’s.
|House of Cards||77||83||80|
|Orange is the New Black||83||95||89|
|Club de Cuervos||N/A||80||80|
|Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||78||94||86|
|Grace and Frankie||58||55||56|
|Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp||74||92||83|
|Master of None||92||100||96|
|W/ Bob and David||76||88||82|
|The Wrong Mans||79||90||84|
|Behind the Mask||N/A||N/A|
|What Lives Inside||N/A||N/A|
|Hand of God||44||30||37|
|Mozart in the Jungle||73||95||84|
|Game of Thrones||91||94||92|
|Masters of Sex||82||87||84|
|House of Lies||63||N/A||63|
|The L Word||63||N/A||63|
|The Walking Dead||79||90||84|
|Hell on Wheels||66||N/A||66|
|TURN: Washington’s Spies||64||66||65|
|Halt and Catch Fire||71||86||78|
|Better Call Saul||78||100||89|
|Fear the Walking Dead||66||76||71|
|Into the Badlands||55||51||53|
|Low Winter Sun||60||43||51|
|American Horror Story||65||73||69|
|The Bastard Executioner||55||49||52|
|Sons of Anarchy||76||89||82|
|It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia||75||96||85|
|You’re the Worst||73||88||80|
|Da Vinci’s Demons||65||81||73|
|Ash vs. Evil Dead||75||98||86|
|Flesh and Bone||52||60||56|
|The White Queen||70||78||74|
Have a better way to find out which channel or provider has the best batting average when it comes to original content? Let us know in the comments below.