Reelgood, a website for searching across different streaming video services, has analyzed the catalogs of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and Showtime to see how they compare on value. The results may not surprise you.
For its analysis, Reelgood looked at the 20,000 most popular movies and TV shows tracked by its website, then divided them three categories. “High quality” movies have an IMDB score of at least 6.5 with at least 300 votes, while “quality” movies have at a score of at least 6.0. “High-quality” shows have a score of at least 8.0, and “quality” shows have a score of at least 7.5.
It turns out that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer far more movies than any other service, and that applies to all quality levels. Amazon has a slight edge in quality movies, though it’s tied with Netflix in high-quality ones and is peddling a lot more junk:
Meanwhile, Hulu fares far better on TV shows, probably thanks to all the next-day network TV programming that it offers, though Netflix holds its own in quality programming:
Things get more interesting when you factor in the price of each streaming service. With Amazon charging $8.99 per month for Prime Video alone, its edge over Netflix becomes more pronounced. (We’re not counting the $12.99 per month Prime service, which includes non-video benefits like free two-day shipping.)
Hulu does well on value when you factor in its low price of $7.99 per month, but that’s for the version with commercials, which none of these other services have. Calculate for Hulu’s ad-free service instead, and Netflix’s value gets a bit closer.
None of these charts look particularly good for HBO or Showtime, though it’s worth noting that they’re the only services whose quality TV shows outweigh their lesser-quality ones. There’s less to choose from, but when you make a selection, chances are it’s going to be good.
Perhaps that’s why a minor freakout occurred in TV critics’ circles a couple months ago, when AT&T executive John Stankey floated the idea of making the newly acquired HBO a bit more like Netflix. Quality over quantity is important, of course, but looking at these charts, it’s hard not to argue that Stankey had a point.