Survey: Netflix Content Needs Cohesion to Stem Subscriber Losses
For almost a decade, Netflix was the premier place to stream shows and films that were nearly impossible to find anywhere else. Unfortunately, focusing on a broad range of content and the loss of popular licensed programming has left the platform a general entertainment provider in a space where genre-specific offerings generate the most brand loyalty.
Commanding a genre helps streaming services define themselves and create a niche for their content. According to Fandom's State of Streaming survey, 62% of cord-cutters associate a platform with one particular genre. Disney+ dominates with superheroes and children’s programming; Paramount+ has been promoting sci-fi Star Trek content with a number of shows appealing to a wider audience; Peacock is winning out when it comes to comedy, but Netflix holds only a few key properties that cross a variety of genres.
That means that the long-time streaming leader is not strongly associated with any particular genre, especially falling flat in both superhero and adult animation. Fandom’s survey suggests that Disney is holding fast to super-powered content, while Showtime and Hulu dominate thriller and action respectively. As such, Netflix may want to shift towards drama and anime, as those are two categories where company identity is neck-and-neck.
With new seasons of two hit genre shows premiering in the next few weeks, Netflix does have its own worlds to explore. The streaming giant has the third season of superhero vehicle, “The Umbrella Academy” premiering on June 22 and the fourth season of 80’s-inspired horror series “Stranger Things” dropping episodes in two parts on May 27 and July 1. However, these are single-show, standalone entries into a crowded genre landscape, leaving Netflix’s top series feeling disconnected from the majority of its other programming.
One look at some of Netflix’s more recent outings shows why their genre identity is all over the board with consumers. Some of the biggest hits for the streamer this year have been the second season of period romance drama “Bridgerton,” LGBTQ coming-of-age series “Hearstopper,” the fourth and final season of crime drama “Ozark,” true-inspired series “Inventing Anna,” and mystery/sci-fi/fantasy series “Archive 81.”
Add in a wide variety of stand-up specials and movies and it appears that the company’s “something for everyone” approach is leaving many viewers confused and looking for more.
In terms of sheer subscriber numbers, Netflix maintains its place as the most preferred streaming service, but that crown is ready to be passed at a moment’s notice. Taking a cue from Disney+ and other services that have more genre-focused content could help solidify the streamer’s position as the world’s leading platform.
Fandom’s survey indicates that the two areas in which Netflix still dominates are in generating popular content and supplying a large library. If the streaming leader still has countless advantages from being the industry’s first major service, but if company executives can figure out how to focus on the types of content that keep customers engaged with the platform long-term, they might be able to right the ship before Disney+, Prime Video, or HBO Max steals streaming’s top spot.