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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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