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Original Shows Give Netflix A Big Edge in Streaming Wars

Hub Entertainment Research Original content Netflix
(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)

Original content is a big driver of viewing and new subscriber sign ups for streaming services, according to a new report from Hub Entertainment Research.

Netflix, already the leader in streaming, is seen as the service with the best original shows, according to Hub’s survey. But new shows and movies on HBO Max and Disney Plus are getting consumers to sign up to those services.

The research backs up the industry's notion that spending on original productions attracts subscribers, while acquired content can help with engagement and retention. 

Hub found that streaming services are going out of their way to brand content as original and that viewers say that label makes them more interested in watching a show, especially among younger people.

Among 16 to 34 year olds, 70% said that seeing the term “original” made them more interested in a show, with 25% saying it made them a lot more interested. Among people age 35 and up, 53% said the original tag made them more interested, with 15% saying it made them a lot more interested.

Hub Entertainment Research - Do originals make consumers more likely to sign up?

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Of the titles mentioned as reasons why people subscribed to a streaming service, Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian was No. 1 and HBO Max’s Wonder Woman 1984 was No. 2. 

Netflix had five of the top 10, with Stranger Things, The Crown, Outlander (actually a Starz original for first-run episodes), Cobra Kai and Tiger King; Disney had three between The Mandalorian and Hamilton on Disney Plus and The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu; HBO Max had two with Wonder Woman and Game of Thrones.

“So far, Netflix has not only withstood the threats posed by new entrants in the ever-intensifying streaming wars—it has thrived,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “But WarnerMedia’s and Disney’s moves to prioritize streaming distribution are already reaping rewards and have the potential to significantly disrupt the TV service pecking order. What remains to be seen is whether this streaming-first strategy will transform HBO Max and Disney Plus into Netflix replacements, or whether they’ll remain as Netflix supplements.”

The study was based on responses from 1,606 consumers with broadband who watch at least one hour of TV per week. It was conducted during February.

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