Netflix has trumped HBO for the first time when it comes to best original content, according to a new survey.
Morgan Stanley’s study, which quizzed a representative sample of two and a half thousand viewers in the US, has seen HBO dominate the field over the last six years, but now, Netflix has taken the lead.
29 per cent of respondents said Netflix was the best at producing original content, ahead of any other premium TV or VOD service, up from 23 per cent last year. HBO came in second place, with 18 per cent (down from 31 per cent last year). Showtime, Hulu and Amazon all scored between 4 and 5 per cent, with Starz taking 2 per cent of the votes.
“This comes as we estimate that in 2016 Netflix will spend more on (original programming) than HBO for the first time,” reads the report.
Morgan Stanley’s analysts, led by Benjamin Swinburne, project that the streaming giant will spend $2.5 billion on content in America this year, more than HBO ($1.8 billion) and Showtime ($700 million).
The news also arrives as Netflix increases its prices for older customers to the current rate for new subscribers, reinforcing just how important the perception of Netflix’s quality is to retaining users. Indeed, almost half (45 per cent) of Netflix subscribers say that original programming is a major factor in their decision to continue subscribing.
The study also suggests that Netflix is more an additional option to traditional TV rather than a replacement – Netflix customers are more likely to subscribe to HBO, Showtime or Starz as well, compared to non-Netflix users. 49 per cent of members say they also subscribe to HBO, while 35 per cent pay for Showtime. Indeed, A similar report in the UK found that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video homes are significantly more likely to be cable or Sky subscription homes than average .
Nonetheless, there is some impact from Netflix’s popularity upon other premium TV networks in the US: 19 per cent of currently premium subscribers say they will “definitely” cancel HBO, Showtime or Starz in the next year (up from 13 per cent) last year.
Consumers who said they “don’t know” which service has the best originals rose from 27 per cent to 34 per cent, according to Morgan Stanley, which also highlights the rapidly growing choice of TV that consumers are facing in the online age.
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