Our pals at Reelgood.com have helped us before with a look at content found on the major streaming services and helped to determine which service has not only the most content but also the highest quality. Reelgood has updated the data again, concentrating on the TV shows you can find to watch—and how many of them are really worth watching.
This data is up-to-date as of June 18, 2020, and involves three different looks. At top, you can see what is arguably the most important set of metrics. It shows the number of licensed shows versus original shows on each service, but only those that are considered high-quality. In this case, that means shows with an 8.0 or higher average rating by users of IMDb (also, each show has to have at least 300 or more votes to be included, which provides some good statistical validity to the numbers).
Clearly, Netflix is the winner here. It’s got 184 licensed shows (programs it didn’t create but gets to run at least for a while) and 151 original shows (programs it paid for and gets to run forever and never has to share), all with high ratings. Think about that for a second—can you even name 151 shows with ratings that good, let alone that can be found all on one service and produced by that service? That’s a stunning achievement.
If you believe in the power of original programming, then the next best is HBO Max, home of all the HBO original shows, even going back to the days before The Sopranos. Having 75 high-quality originals is also an achievement. (HBO Max, the new iteration of the service for streaming, also licenses other shows now, so it’s got 38 of them.)
Hulu’s high numbers come mainly from licensing, which is what it does best—it’s great for next-day viewing of shows that originated on many other networks. Amazon’s Prime Video has a lot of shows as well, and 40 high-quality originals, well ahead of Hulu’s 16. Bringing up the rear, for now, are Disney+ and Apple TV+. The latter streams only original shows, so it’s three best reviewed shows make up that entire bar.
Want to take the quality down a notch? Okay, here’s a bar chart of shows with an IMDb rating of 6.5 or higher.
All the numbers go up, and you can see Hulu’s licensed-content strategy—working with lots of networks, since it used to be owned by lots of networks before Disney took it over. But that said, so does Netflix’s strategy of spending literally billions of dollars on original shows that people still like.
If you don’t care about quality, here’s the chart you really want: a look at the total number of TV shows, original versus licensed, on all those services. Excellence be damned.
This is clearly Prime Video’s place to shine; it’s got more content than anyone. That’s a total of 2,236 TV shows you can watch for “free” (if you subscribe to Amazon Prime), 134 of them Amazon’s army of originals. For in-house programs, Amazon’s in third, behind Netflix and HBO. If you get only one streaming-service subscription, Amazon’s will keep you the busiest.
Netflix doesn’t have as many shows total as Prime Video, but it does have that astronomical number of originals, 674 in total. In just a few years, Netflix has created more multi-episode television than most networks have in the last few decades. It throws in 1,275 licensed shows on top. Consider how many of them have earned high ratings when you make a choice.