Reed Hastings

Grousing about the selection in the Netflix streaming library may be a popular pastime, but the company is taking new steps to address that criticism by sizing up its top videos vs. the selection from its competitors.

After surprising Wall Street with strong results yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings used a portion of his quarterly letter to shareholders to take on Amazon, Hulu Plus and Redbox.

He presented this chart showing which portion of the top 200 movies and shows on Netflix are also available from those rivals.

There are a few problems with this graphic. First, the chart assumes that the Netflix top 200 is the gold standard. For all we know, Amazon could just as easily do this with its own top 200.

Also, it’s important to note that the comparison is being made to Amazon Prime catalog, the portion of Amazon’s selection available at no extra charge to Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon’s catalog is much larger, including movies and TV shows that can be purchased individually.

That said, Netflix’s growth of nearly 10 million streaming members globally in 2012 represents progress following the company’s struggles of the past couple of years — and Hastings is obviously feeling more emboldened.

He writes, “When it comes to competition, we not only have a superior content offering due to our larger budget, but we are further along the experience curve when it comes to improving our user interface and  delivering great quality streaming. For all of these reasons, Netflix continues to add members rapidly.”

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  • Guest

    Congrats to Reed! Thanks to your leadership, Netflix is up to nearly half the valuation it had before your Qwikster debacle in 2011.

  • Meg

    Huge misrepresentation of Amazon’s ACTUAL catalog. Thank you Todd Bishop for clarifying that in your article! Amazon is big competition and they were underestimated in Hasting’s letter.

  • Steve

    This chart is a measure of nothing, because the top 200 movies on Netflix are still 200 movies I donwannasee. Even at $8/mo. it’s hardly worth it.

    • anon

      Yep, I cancelled my Netflix account last year and went back to 100% piracy. Valve has demonstrated overwhelmingly with Steam that the path to legitimacy is offering compelling services at fair prices, but the movie industry would rather continue gutting Netflix’s library in favor of a dozen different walled gardens offering often-ridiculous prices and often-inferior service.

      It’s a shame because Netflix is a genuinely innovative company with a service that used to be compelling, and it’s being wrecked largely through no fault of their own.

  • voleheart

    expected from them. everybody does it

  • Christopher Budd

    I don’t know if it’s any better on Amazon but my grousing about Netflix streaming isn’t on selection per se but rather about how things just suddenly disappear with no warning. Startgate SG-1 was in my queue and I was watching it and then suddenly *poof* just not there with no notice or anything.

    Makes it hard to feel like you can rely on the service. And too, it makes you wonder if you’re going crazy sometimes (“I’m sure I saw this here….didn’t I?”).

  • James

    Next is going to be cancelled keep. Shows old movies and repeating it over and over again I am so tired of next break

  • David

    I hate the new User Interface. They took away the tab of Instant Que whcih i used ALL the time. I complained and they didn’t listen any more than Congress!!

  • Roger Market

    I don’t think it’s a misrepresentation of Amazon’s “actual catalogue.” Amazon PRIME is the streaming service that is in competition with Netflix, which is a subscription-based streaming service. The rest of Amazon is just a digital STORE; purchasing individual episodes of shows (or individual movies) on Amazon’s digital store is like purchasing episodes/movies on iTunes, NOT like streaming something on Netflix. Would anyone equate iTunes with Netflix or Amazon Prime? No. Amazon Prime’s catalogue is still lacking compared to Netflix.

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