Now that the Streaming Wars are officially underway, is the original game-changer at risk of losing its crown? Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be discussing if Netflix is still worth it.
It’s hard to believe that Netflix originally launched as a DVD rental service by mail in 1997. A decade later, Netflix introduced an online video on demand service to their business model. Within the following years, the company set a gold standard for streaming services, reshaping the entertainment industry as we know it. Netflix accomplished this by distributing existing shows and movies, as well as original content. Throughout the 2010s, Netflix has thrived as the definitive name in streaming. With more and more services entering the streaming arena, though, is Netflix really worth our time and money anymore? Let’s take a look!
Being one of the pioneering streaming services, Netflix has had plenty of time to perfect its layout on every device. In addition to dividing “TV Shows,” “Movies,” “My List,” “Recently Added,” and the “Home” menu into individual sections, content has been meticulously organized based on genres and subgenres. Whether you’re in the mood for a “Goofy Australian Movie” or a “Zombie TV Show,” Netflix makes it easy for users to navigate and narrow down their options. This setup not only allows users to efficiently seek out their favorite shows, but also discover new and original content.
The service’s eye-popping visuals and slick presentation almost make the user feel as if they’re searching the shelves of a video store, a business that Netflix almost single-handedly made obsolete. While most would agree that streaming is more convenient and all-around better, a part of us will always miss the experience of going to Blockbuster and picking out a title. Although Netflix isn’t as social or physical, its user interface does capture a similar sense of exploration. Honestly, if you’re feeling lazy and just wanna pass the time, simply browsing through Netflix’s library can be surprising satisfying and fun.
Of course, nobody subscribes to a streaming service purely based on the user interface. It’s all about the content and Netflix has a plethora to go around. While it depends on which country you live in, the United States had a Netflix catalogue of 5,707 movies and shows as of July 30, 2018. If there’s ever a movie or show you’ve been meaning to catch up with, checking Netflix is probably your first instinct. “Breaking Bad” is just one of the many shows that debuted elsewhere, but its availability on Netflix significantly expanded its audience. Netflix has also provided users with a portal to revisit their favorite shows like “The Office” and “Friends,” both of which were among their most-streamed programs in 2018.
Since many of these shows aren’t Netflix Originals, however, their lifetime presence on the platform isn’t guaranteed, especially in an era where every media giant wants their own streaming service. “Friends” is leaving Netflix in 2020, making its way to the WarnerMedia-owned HBO Max, which is set to launch in May 2020. In 2021, “The Office” will move from Netflix to NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service. For the time being, Netflix still has popular shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Flash,” and “Supernatural” in its corner. Since those are all owned by other parties, though, it may only be a matter of time until they start disappearing from Netflix.
According to a 2018 Variety article, 37% of Netflix’s U.S. content is original.
While licensed properties do make up a majority of Netflix’s library, the streaming service has produced a tidal wave of binge-worthy programming nevertheless. Granted, not every Netflix Original is a gem. Remember “Real Rob?” For every misfire, though, there’s a homerun like “Stranger Things,” “Ozark,” or “Mindhunter,” all of which are still going strong. The one downside to having so much content is that a few great shows are bound to get lost in the shuffle. “American Vandal,” “Tuca & Bertie,” and “Sense8” are just a few Netflix Originals that were prematurely cancelled. As far as original content goes, however, Netflix has a leg up on much of the competition in terms of quality, quantity, and variety.
Apple+ was met with a mixed response upon launching in November 2019, both due to its relatively small library and the quality of the original content available. Disney+, which launched the same month, has a much larger catalog by comparison, complete with classic titles and new content. Since most of the content on Disney+ is kid-friendly, however, it likely won’t appease those looking for more adult-oriented films and series. Netflix, on the other hand, has all the bases covered, catering to kids, grown-ups, and families. Then again, Disney also owns a majority of Hulu, which has given Netflix a run for its money in some respects.
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” became the first original streaming show to win the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. In the Outstanding Comedy Series category, Amazon Prime Video pulled off Emmy victories for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag.” A Netflix Original has yet to win the Emmy in either of these top categories. Looking at the big picture, however, Netflix earned the most Emmy nominations in 2018 with 112, more than Amazon and Hulu combined that year. So, it’s safe to say which streaming service has the most originals that define peak TV.
Some of Netflix’s flagship shows, like “House of Cards” “Orange Is the New Black,” and the Marvel Universe, recently wrapped up. We’ll also be saying goodbye to a few fan favorites soon, such as “BoJack Horseman.” Yet, there’s still loads to look forward to. November 2019 is delivering season three of “The Crown,” along with the docu-series “Narcoworld: Dope Stories.” In December 2019, we’re getting “The Witcher,” Netflix’s answer to “Game of Thrones,” and “Soundtrack,” a musical drama from “Gossip Girl” producer Joshua Safran. Netflix is also gunning for a Best Picture Oscar with award season favorites like “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman.” Looking further down the line, we can’t wait for the second seasons of “Sex Education,” “The Umbrella Academy,” and “Russian Doll,” not to mention the interactive “Kimmy Schmidt” special.
It feels like every year news breaks that Netflix is raising its prices. In all fairness, though, Netflix remains pretty affordable and accommodating, with three possible streaming plans. The Basic Plan will allow you to stream on one screen at a time for $8.99 per month. The Standard Plan will get you two screens at once for $12.99 per month. You can watch four screens at once with the Premium Plan - ideal for families - which is $15.99 per month. While Netflix’s Basic Plan is slightly more expensive than the monthly fees for some other streaming services, it’s not by a huge margin and you get your money’s worth
In short, yes, Netflix is absolutely still worth it! Even if it’s not the only streaming service in town anymore, Netflix was the first to master the format and has thus remained ahead of its competitors. With a user-friendly platform and reasonable prices, it still has subscribers coming back for new shows and movies daily. There’s a reason why people say, “Netflix and chill,” and this phrase won’t be dying out anytime soon.
Our Mojometer score? The reigning streaming champ deserves nothing less than 4 outta 4!