We talk a lot in this space about the quantity and quality of original programming on the major streaming services, and for good reason: We need all the content we can get (seriously, it’s going to be highly weird in 2021 when the COVID-19 production delays finally lead to a dearth of shows and movies, and we get stuck with too much “reality TV” that’s easy to make). That’s why it’s always fascinating to see a new take on it, such as WhistleOut’s research into which service has the “best” content.
First, take in that stunning number of 726 original TV shows, the vast majority of which are, naturally, on Netflix—it has been cranking them out since House of Cards debuted in 2013. Still, that’s a lot of TV shows in 7 years, almost 66 shows per year on average—not even counting the original movies. (Those numbers also include upcoming/announced shows going into 2021, so it’s a little inflated.) Only Amazon Prime Video comes even close to as many shows, and it’s not really that close, with only 91 originals. (Just launched HBO Max has 14 bringing up the rear, but Peacock is also brand new it has double the originals. So there, HBO.)
WhistleOut—a site that actually tries to help you pick a cell phone plan and SP, and such sites like to do research like this to get their name out there via sites like ours that can’t resist a good infographic—also drilled down into the genre of the original shows. The “easy to make” stuff almost prevails—docuseries and reality TV competitions are less expensive and don’t always have big star salaries involved. But they’re behind the comedies, with 148 sitcoms and dramedies making up the actual majority.
Original Content by Genre
What genres are on top for each service? Comedies rule at Peacock and Hulu; docuseries are the majority at Amazon and Disney+; Apple TV+ so far favors dramas, HBO Max likes reality shows, CBS All Access is mostly sci-fi/fantasy (thanks, Star Trek!). And Netflix? Its majority of original programming is kids & family. To which my Go Go Cory Carson–addicted son can attest.
But the most important question, as always, isn’t about how much, but how well. Looking at the overall ratings on the shows, WhistleOut gave each service a grade based on the median Rotten Tomatoes scores it had across all its shows. In that case, there’s a clear winner: Disney+. Hulu (also majority-run by Disney now) is a close second.
(Note that if this sounds familiar, we’ve covered this territory before with Reelgood.com. But its counts were different (it didn’t include upcoming shows), and it used ratings from IMDb, not Rotten Tomatoes.)
Who Has the Best Original Content?
Are you going to be unhappy with any of the streaming services? They all have a solid B- score at the very least, except for CBS, which is trending at 71 percent. That’s probably also because of Star Trek (the ending of Picard sucked, yeah, I said it). But consider that Netflix managed that 84 percent against the competition while offering up exactly five times as many original TV shows as the next biggest competitor (Amazon). That’s pretty impressive.
For more, read the full report at WhistleOut.