Netflix and Amazon Set to Nearly Double Originals Catalog, Study Says

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Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for Netflix

The streaming giants are facing increased competition from Facebook, YouTube and Apple, as well as DC Universe and Disney's upcoming direct-to-consumer service.

Netflix is doubling down on its successful formula of commissioning original sci-fi and comedy series as the streaming giant looks to maintain its lead over subscription VOD competitors, a new study by Ampere Analysis has found.

The study, released Tuesday, shows that Netflix still leads the SVOD pack by a large margin, with more than 250 new commissions planned, a figure that will more than double the 229 originals currently in Netflix's catalog. Amazon, with 105 originals and a similar number of new commissions, is a distant second when it comes to original series creation for its streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video.

On a combined basis, the two giants will almost double their original programming catalogs, according to the study.

More recent entrants, including Facebook Watch, Apple and Google-owned YouTube, are ramping up investment in originals, even as Netflix faces new competition in the form of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Network's platform DC Universe, which launched in the U.S. earlier this month, and Disney’s direct-to-consumer service, scheduled to launch in 2019.

Ampere notes that the launch of these new services means content the studios once provided to Netflix will be kept for their own services and will therefore compete directly with the streaming giants.

While Netflix and Amazon commission series over a broad range of genres, Ampere notes that Netflix has been “maintaining its focus on the youth-skewing genres of comedy and sci-fi, which have a track record of success for the company.” In comparison, 29 percent of Amazon's upcoming titles are drama series, while 17 percent of Netflix's are.

Netflix and Amazon's new commissions dwarf those of their streaming competitors, but Apple, YouTube and Facebook are ramping up quickly, with a total of 65 upcoming original titles between them. Disney is also committing major resources to its DTC service, having announced 19 new original series, including spin-offs of High School Musical and Monsters Inc.

“All the major players have been expanding the number of original commissions in the face of an increasingly competitive market,” said Richard Cooper, an analyst at Ampere. "What’s interesting is the different audience profile that each of the [services] appear to be targeting with their originals content, suggesting they’re aiming at different niches within the SVOD market.”

Cooper notes that YouTube Premium is focusing largely on youth-oriented comedy and cutting back on reality series (just 6 percent of new commissions, compared with 32 percent of its current catalog), while Facebook, while still largely focused on news, documentary and reality programs, has also upped its volume of scripted drama and comedy commissions.

Ampere's study shows Apple taking a broader approach, with new commissions spread fairly evenly between the comedy, sci-fi, drama and crime genres.