Since 2015, Netflix’s catalogue of Originals has dropped in quality by roughly 4%, as estimated using a quality measure designed by the research and analysis firm Ampere Analysis. The SVOD giant’s recent spate of show cancellations is probably linked to reversing the declining average quality of its titles, Richard Broughton, Research Director at Ampere, suggested this week.
“Netflix has become more ruthless with its content commissions in recent periods, cancelling what it perceives to be underperforming series at a higher-than-ever rate,” he observes. “Series such as ‘The Get Down’, ‘Bloodline’, ‘Sense8’ and ‘Marco Polo’ are all titles which have failed to make the cut.”
Ampere Analysis has calculated a simple cost-effectiveness ratio for Netflix Originals that weighs up show cost relative to the volume of quality-weighted IMDB reviews. This illustrates that Netflix’s cancelled shows – with the single exception of ‘Bloodline’ – all fall below the levels of cost-effectiveness achieved by its renewed titles.
Broughton explains: “On this scale, ‘Stranger Things’ registers as the most cost-effective series Netflix has released, followed by ‘13 Reasons Why’ and by ‘Narcos’. By contrast, ‘The Get Down’ achieved middling interest but commanded a high fee, and was the least cost-effective Original, followed by ‘Hemlock Grove’.
Ampere Analysis, which keeps a very close eye on content and strategy at OTT giants like Netflix and Amazon, says one-third of Netflix expenditure on Originals has been for drama, with a quarter on comedy and stand-up shows. The action & adventure, crime and thrillers, and sci-fi and horror categories are also significant areas of investment.
Kids/family and documentary titles are an important part of the catalogue but their relatively low cost-per-hour, especially compared to scripted drama and entertainment series, means the sums spent on these genres have been comparatively low, Broughton points out.