Todays Netflix looks very different than the company that was founded in 1997or, for that matter, the one that existed just a few years ago. Netflix went from being a movie rental service to the industrys first true movie streaming service, and it created a market space that has attracted a lot of competition.
That competitionin the form of services like Hulu and HBOhas changed Netflixs strategy. Netflixs onetime monopoly helped it snap up streaming rights for less, but streaming prices are going up. Thats one likely reason behind Netflixs shrinking content library.
But library size doesnt matter the way it once did in the streaming spacenow, the contest is all about original series. Netflix is pouring record amounts of cash into their original content as are its competitors. And at the same time that their overall library is shrinking, Netflixs original content selection is growing fast. Hows it paying off?
If you ask Netflixs users, its paying off pretty well. In fact, Netflix user ratings show that Netflixs subscriber base prefers Netflixs original content to its syndicated content. Netflix originals sport an average rating of 3.85 stars out of five; all other content averages 3.47 stars. That means that user ratings for Netflix originals are 11% higher, on average, than user ratings for syndicated content.
Netflix does best in the documentaries category, where users rate non-original content, on average, at 3.54. Netflixs documentaries average 4.07 stars, a pretty impressive showing.
Netflixs TV shows do the worst, but still edge their other TV show content by 5.7%.
Its possible that the frequent reviewers among Netflixs user base differ from the user base as a whole, but theres not a lot of reason to doubt the raw data here. The Netflix originals and non-originals were both reviewed on the same service and using the same rating system, yet originals consistently outperformed the rest of the content.
Thats great news for Netflix: theyve been more and more focused on original content, and its now clear that their customers feel the same way.
This post is an updated version of an article originally published on April 7, 2016.