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Can Amazon compete with Netflix original content? Social data says no.

By Jordan Hanson  •  November 30, 2016


Can Amazon compete with Netflix original content? Social data says no.

Posted by: Jordan Hanson on November 30, 2016

It feels like consumers looking for streaming video online have a really wide range of content options these days. Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix are the biggest names in original video content, but Facebook and YouTube seem ready to jump on the bandwagon with aggressive promotion strategies for Facebook Live and YouTube Originals, respectively.

Will Amazon compete with Netflix original content? What does their content strategy even look like?

HBO, by contrast, looks like it might be swept up in the rumored AT&T/Time Warner merger, but is already a household name through its HBO GO on-demand branding.

Certainly one of the larger comparisons to be made in evaluating the competitive nature of online video content concerns both Netflix and Amazon. As Netflix looks to expand from its already-successful lineup of original television content into producing its own feature films, can Amazon hope to keep consumers hungry for its own video content?

In order to find out, I compared 10 of Amazon's top original shows against 10 of the top-performing originals produced by Netflix.

Amazon originals lag behind Netflix across the board.

It's hard to exist online these days without becoming quickly familiar with Netflix or its various content offerings, some of which you may have never heard of, depending on your social circle and what kinds of content various friends and family will enjoy.

Orange is the New Black, Sense8, House of Cards -- the list of award-winning video content produced by Netflix is growing at an exponential rate as Netflix looks to meet fan expectations. In fact, Netflix was on pace to deliver 31 original series throughout 2016, as well as more movies and new original documentaries.

Looking at social media monitoring data for Amazon's original content, however, makes it more difficult to suggest that Amazon is remaining competitive. While it is true that Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle collected two Golden Globes this year, a quick look at a list of original content for each provider illustrates how badly the issue of content diversity looms over Amazon's future growth in original video (here are the lists on Wikipedia for both Netflix and Amazon, for your convenience).


Netflix seems to have a show (or even multiple shows) to appeal to as many audiences as possible, in every video category. Amazon, however, seems like a strange mix of niche drama and comedy shows alongside a bunch of programming that seems intended for children.

Looking at our data above, we can clearly see that consumers absolutely adore the content Netflix has to offer.

By contrast, we have to get to slot #8 on our list before ANY of Amazon's original video content even shows up -- even then, The Man in the High Castle has a 700,000 post deficit from the next most-popular series that isn't easy to ignore.

Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, for example, captured over a million more posts than Transparent, arguably one of Amazon's most-celebrated and widely-known shows.

Researching big media brands like Netflix and Amazon with social data can be difficult, but not impossible

When researching brands as large as Amazon and Netflix, there will inevitably be some amount of noise in the social media monitoring data you retrieve from any source. This is primarily because of each company's respective size and scope.

With Netflix, for example, it was sometimes difficult in my own research efforts to isolate discussions of particular show from its original content lineup from discussions comparing Netflix in general to other types of syndicated programming.

In the data I retrieved for Amazon, however, I had to wade through entire fields of social conversation that were entirely unrelated to the questions I wanted to answer. The reason? Amazon is a HUGE brand that consumers love, but not all for the same reasons, which can make research efforts complicated.

Amazon original video content is primarily available to Amazon Prime subscribers, which means anybody talking about Amazon in any context other than the shows we have highlighted in this post could also just include more generalized mentions of 'Amazon,' which meant we needed to be more precise in defining the scope of our queries.

'Big media' bets: can Amazon's launch of "The Grand Tour" draw customers into the fold?

We would be amiss in discussing Amazon's original content if we didn't at least mention they have just launched perhaps their most-anticipated series, The Grand Tour.


You may remember Jeremy Clarkson, of noted Top Gear hosting fame, was swiftly booted from the air by the BBC after allegedly assaulting one of his producers over a late dinner.

Clarkson, as well as Richard Hammond and James May, the longtime Top Gear hosting trio, were quick to sin a new production deal with Amazon around a similar theme -- car shows for car people, by car people.

Top Gear (UK) was one of the most widely-watched programs around the globe, and Amazon knows it. They're making an obvious play to hype the show and all of its subsequent hijinx, as well as drawing users to the singular element that made Top Gear work as a video program -- the presenters themselves as influencers.

In this case, Amazon is leveraging its strength as a brand with many marketing arms in a variety of markets to push this particular Amazon original. They've even built a singular landing page to capture inbound web traffic from around the globe, immediately directing the visitor's attention to the social feeds on which he or she can follow Clarkson, Hammond, and May even before the show's launch.


It is actually quite impressive for this show to be performing at such a high level, particularly as the campaign's influencer focus (Clarkson, Hammond, and May) is driven by spokespeople who are no strangers to public scandal. Since the show has premiered, we'll take a look back at how it fared over its first season.

As it stands now, the show place 4th place in the Amazon lineup of original video content, according to the same analysis of social media post universes, with the show premiere scheduled for November 2016.

Get more in-depth information on what consumers love about Netflix's original content

We just published a report that investigates some of Netflix's most popular original content offerings.

Using our proprietary database of nearly a decade of social media post content, we analyzed the viewing preferences for streaming video consumers, looking at more than 423 million posts about Netflix from consumers online. In our report, we uncover:

  • key shows in Netflix's original content lineup that brands should consider targeting,
  • audience personas for popular Netflix original shows,
  • how to research and launch new product and marketing ideas using social media, and
  • exciting product placement opportunities that CPG brands will love.

Don't forget to get your copy of the report by clicking the banner below.

Get the Netflix Report for free!

Did you like this post? Have an argument you want to throw down instead?
That's cool. Feel free to let me know on Twitter. I love getting in arguments on the internet.

Topics: brands, netflix, original content, streaming video


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