Is Netflix’s Share of Top Streaming Titles Increasing or Decreasing?

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It’s playoffs baby!

Not for sports, mind you. (Though technically the MLB All-Star game is on.) I mean for streaming. Earnings season starts tomorrow! For Netflix, it’s a fairly important quarter, coming off two down quarters for the world’s leading streamer. 

(Though that’s kind of like U.S. elections: every election is the most important of our lifetimes…until the next one.)

Every few months, I count how many titles each streamer puts onto the three Nielsen top ten lists (Originals, Acquired and Film) in the U.S. I like this look because it captures who is streaming the most watched content.

Here’s that look, going back to the start of 2021, when Nielsen began publishing three top ten lists:

Here’s some quick thoughts on this data:

– This chart is in some ways a Rorschach test for your opinions on Netflix. If you’re a Netflix “bull”—meaning positive on their future prospects—you point out that Netflix dominates the chart. True! Here’s that in stark contrast:

It’s not even close! That said…

 – If you’re a bear, you point out that Netflix’s share is decreasing over time. Here’s a scatterplot of that share, with a trend line drawn through it:

– In other words, both opinions can be true. Over time, Netflix is losing share in terms of the top ten lists, but it’s still the leading streamer by far. In terms of percentages, Netflix owned 74% of the Nielsen top lists in 2021, and that’s down to 69% in 2022 so far. Even worse, Q2 is only 68%. 

– This will likely get worse with the addition of HBO Max to Nielsen’s streaming data. For those who don’t know, prior to June, Nielsen collected HBO Max’s streaming data, but did not publicly release it as part of their weekly top tens. Presumably HBO Max would have been taking share back in 2021, we just didn’t have data to show it. But as to how much share and when, we can’t really know.

– Some of you would probably like to to see the same chart as a function of “total hours” as opposed to counting shows. I’ve run this analysis before, and in terms of percentages, they’re mostly the same. As of April, Netflix’s share was 74% in terms of counting titles on the top thirty, and it was 75% in terms of their share in terms of hours. I like the “count” because, as long as they are close, it’s easier to see trends in share, whereas total hours emphasizes the shifts in total viewing more.

(The caveat is that Stranger Things alone probably boosted Netflix’s share of total hours viewed, since it had over 100 million hours in one week. I will do that analysis in a future article, but I didn’t have time this week.)

– Hulu is the real loser here. They should definitely put more TV series onto the acquired TV charts. For example, How I Met Your Mother, which they stream as a library title. (It made the list once when the spinoff debuted.) The caveat here is that current broadcast titles aren’t included in Nielsen’s rankings.

– I could say the same thing about Prime Video. Given how long they’ve been in the streaming game and how many titles they license, they really don’t put on as many titles as Netflix.

– Lastly, I think Paramount+ would probably put some titles on the Nielsen rankings if Nielsen shared their data. (Let Nielsen release your data Paramount!) I doubt that would be the case with Peacock, though.

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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