Netflix is a lot like Discovery Channel in the late 1980’s.
Like Discovery back in the day, Netflix viewers watch a lot more acquisitions than original commissions.
- Only 15% of its total U.S. streams in 1Q ’17 were for Netflix Originals.
- More than than 85% were licensed acquisitions.
- Those findings were reported by research firm 7Park Data.
- Scripted shows dominate the “SVOD Streaming Ratings”:
- For Netflix, the top half-hour program in March ’17 in the U.S. was “The Office” (8.4% of total streams).
- “South Park” was Hulu’s top half-hour program in March ’17 (6.7% of total streams).
- Individual documentaries don’t show up on the chart.
- But the documentary category does bolster subscriber satisfaction and drive favorable press.
- Documentaries contribute to customer subscription and retention, just as Unscripted channels like Discovery have done for cable / satellite operators for more than a generation.
- According to Netflix, 73% of its 100 million (+/-) subscribers worldwide watched at least one documentary in 2016.
- (Unlike advertiser-supported channels, SVOD services don’t share their proprietary detailed viewing data.)
More and More Originals
- Netflix announced plans to produce 1,000 hours of original programming in 2017.
- That’s up from 600 hours in 2016.
- We don’t have a breakdown of Netflix’s documentary pipeline.
- Or of the breakdown in the Documentary category of streams for originals versus acquisitions.
The Research Framework
- 7Park Data collects its data from 1 million+ active OTT users globally who stream 1 million+ hours of content daily.
- You can request the complete study here.
- And read more analysis at Will Richmond’s VideoNuze.
- Two Netflix teams cover documentary and unscripted commissions.
- As far as I can tell, for documentaries and factual specials, Netflix relies on the director-led model imported from Scripted rather than the producer-led commissioning model that has proven its value for the factual channels.
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