We don’t mean to pile on Netflix this week; it’s just that they aren’t leaving us any choice in the matter.
Yesterday, the streaming giant announced a long-awaited user-interface feature that most platforms have been using to their advantage for decades, driving consumers to sample product and engage in a way that no other feature has ever been able to do before. That feature?
The Top 10 List.
Finally, Netflix is pulling back the curtain of transparency in providing the Top 10 charting TV shows and Movies on the platform, incorporating such ratings throughout their service, and hoping that it convinces data-hungry and performance-intrigued producers, talent and consumers just what’s moving the needle in this massive battle moved by (supposed) billions, not millions.
But the Top 10 List does more to prove that Netflix is going to continue to have trouble in the face of competition than anything else. How so?
Take a look at the today’s Top 10 List of Movies on Netflix:
What do you notice? Anything interesting? Perhaps is it that out of ten feature films charting in the Top 10 slots on Netflix in the United States today, that seven of them (or 70%) are not Netflix Originals? And that of those seven films, seven of them are deeper catalog moves from major studios that were made and released at least 2-4 years ago?
Okay, maybe that’s just a coincidence. Let’s take a look at the TV charts:
Netflix has always been known to have found their foothold in the TV space. They’ve even received more award recognition in the space. So when you look at the TV Top 10 charts, it’s good to see (for them) that seven (or 70%) are Netflix Originals.
On the Television side, 70% of what people are streaming are the Netflix Originals content. But on the Movies side, 70% of what people are streaming are the studio’s bread and butter. Despite the fact that Netflix is spending big money on producing more than 60 feature films per year, it’s really the television content that’s moving the needle for them.
What should that tell Netflix? What should that tell the industry?
It doesn’t matter how long people have watched these programs and it doesn’t matter how Netflix is calculating any of this. As long as they’re calculating their daily Top 10’s with consistent algorithmic methodology, there’s nothing there to poke holes at. But it speaks volumes as to how consumers think about watching content and how brands and I.P. that consumers aren’t familiar with can be successful…but when the level of commitment isn’t as significant.
What does that mean?
It means that if you’re Netflix, your Top 10 List should prove to you that consumers don’t want to take a two-hour chance on feature films they’ve never heard of. Sure they’ll commit to old staples like (ummm) A Haunted House or The Other Guys or Mr. Right — because they have probably seen them before and can mindlessly multitask while watching them. But ask them to do the same thing with feature-length films they’ve never heard of or aren’t benefitting from big marketing campaigns…and they’re going to always go back to what they know.
But in TV, they’ve already been conditioned that streaming is the place where you can quick sample shorter-length shows to see if it’s something worth committing to.
Netflix also came into prominence with TV product like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and conditioned audiences and streaming consumers alike that Netflix was a place for TV.
But movies? Not so much.
It’s ironic Netflix has opted to release such charting data, which they’ve held close to the vest for so many years. Some might suggest it’s Netflix showing their cards — the cards that reveal just how little movement or impact their original features are having with their consumer base in the United States.
But perhaps they’ve already known that for years. And they’ve made peace with it. And they’re pivoting as we speak.
For $17 Billion in content, they should.