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Netflix Outpaces Amazon in Original Content Production, Study Finds

Fern Siegel

While streamers battle their rivals for subscriptions and content, there are clear differences between the majors.

According to “Omdia Original Online Production Report - 2020,” two heavy hitters — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — have similarities, but also big differences in their business models.

For instance, Omdia, a global tech researcher, notes Netflix, which operates like a Hollywood studio, offered 657 first-run original titles in 2019 to Amazon Prime Video’s 70. Year-over-year, Netflix upped its hours and original content 78 percent and 70 percent, respectively, in 2019.

Conversely, Amazon’s hours fell by 18 percent and titles dipped by 5 percent.

Tim Westcott, research director, channels and programming, for Omdia, noted: “Netflix is a pure-play subscription streaming business that needs to fuel its continued international growth. Amazon is first and foremost a retailer, using video as an add-on to its Prime delivery business.”

In fact, Westcott believes Netflix is upping its original shows to fortify itself against Apple TV+ and Disney+. Another major difference between the rivals is their mission.

Netflix is a global platform, so programming is geared to both a domestic and worldwide audience. “La Casa de Pael (“Money Heist”) was a hit in Spain. Picked up by Netflix, it’s been its most-viewed series in a foreign language, with 44 million views between October 2018 and September 2019. Other successful foreign shows include the UK’s “Sex Education” with 40 million viewers and the Spanish series “Elite” claiming 20 million.

Amazon has made several splashy domestic hits, such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Bosch” and “Mozart in the Jungle.”

At the end of 2019, Netflix reported 109 million international subscribers, 64 percent of its overall total. Forbes estimates Amazon had 96.5 viewers the same year.

“Rather than competing head-on, Netflix and Amazon are in very different businesses — as illustrated by the original programming results from 2019,” adds Westcott.

Photo credit: Freestocks on Unsplash

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