Source Code: Your daily look at what matters in tech.

next-upnext upauthorJanko RoettgersNoneDo you know what's coming next up in the world of tech and entertainment? Get Janko Roettgers' newsletter every Thursday.9147dfd6b1
×

Get access to Protocol

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Power

Sizing up streaming: Netflix has 400 times more movies than Apple TV+

Newcomers struggle to keep up with the streaming giants, but catalog size isn't everything.

Sizing up streaming: Netflix has 400 times more movies than Apple TV+

The size and makeup of these catalogs tell us a lot about how streaming services approach the space, and how much of an investment they've been able to make over the years.

Image: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Netflix executives received an interesting question during the company's Q3 earnings call last week: The company's streaming catalog is significantly smaller these days than it was just a few years ago, prompting Barclays Media Research Managing Director Kannan Venkateshwar to ask: "Is that deliberate? And how do you determine optimum volume? How much is too much?"

"It is true that there is less," admitted Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. In the early days, Netflix often licensed bulk catalogs of hundreds of titles at a time, he explained. "Today, we are much more deliberate," Sadarndos said. "We really don't focus that much on the title count."

That may be true for a giant like Netflix that spends billions of dollars a year on originals. However, the size and makeup of these catalogs also tell us a lot about how streaming services approach the space, and how much of an investment they've been able to make over the years. In the end, it may not matter as much whether Netflix has 2,000 or 10,000 TV shows, but it does matter that Netflix has hundreds of times more movies than Apple TV+.

To help us size up the streaming services, Protocol got some exclusive data from Reelgood on the catalogs of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+ and the paid tier of Peacock, NBCUniversal's new streaming service. The results are fascinating, especially if you separately take a closer look at the number of movies and TV shows on each of those services.

Based on TV shows alone, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are almost head-to-head, with Hulu not far behind. Both Netflix and Amazon have for some time invested in original TV shows, and the two services have also added a lot of international TV content to their respective catalogs.

Hulu's relative strength here makes sense: It was originally conceived as a catch-up service for broadcast television, and more recently started to add exclusive programming from cable networks like FX. Disney+, on the other hand, is still a lot smaller, as a lot of its catalog is still focused on hit movies from its "Star Wars" and "MCU" franchises. Peacock, which launched just three months ago, is clearly still ramping up its catalog; HBO Max in a similar position, expanding beyond its core HBO catalog, but still far behind Netflix.

The notable outlier here is Apple TV+, which launched a year ago with a blank slate. Without any back catalog to prop up its numbers, it currently has only 31 TV shows available to U.S. viewers. Consumers often lament that they have "watched everything" on the services they subscribe to. Apple TV+ is the only service where this could conceivably be true.

Comparing the number of movies on each service gets a bit tricky, since Amazon Prime Video is such an incredible outlier. With 13,845 movies available to U.S. viewers, the service has more than 1.5 times as many titles in its catalog as all of its major competitors combined.

Early on, Amazon championed producing original movies, and unlike Netflix also embraced the industry's traditional windowing model, allowing theaters to show some of its films weeks before they appeared on the service.

Prime Video is also the only major service to embrace self-publishing. Indie studios and bedroom producers alike can upload their movies to Prime Video Direct and release them to Amazon's audience without giving up their rights, which has helped the service to significantly grow its movie catalog. The flip side of this is that Prime Video is also the only major service to host countless hours of Yoga instructionals, how-tos to "improve your boating skills" and similar fare you'd overwise find on YouTube — not exactly dangerous competition for hit shows on Netflix or Disney+.

Amazon aside, there are some surprising insights in this segment: As expected, Netflix does lead the charge, but it's worth noting that HBO Max has about 2.5 times as many movies as Disney+. Peacock, whose catalog includes the entire "Harry Potter" franchise, is also surprisingly strong, pulling ahead of both Hulu and Disney+.

The bottom spot is once again reserved for Apple TV+, which had just nine movies for U.S. audiences in October. This means that Netflix has more than 400 times as many movies available as Apple TV+.

Commenting on Netflix's own catalog, Sarandos tried to put things in perspective last week. "It turns out [a large title count] isn't that meaningful if people don't watch them. So what we have really done is concentrate on the titles that have a lot of impact and can aggregate big audiences," Sarandos said. "It's really not a chase for how many titles, but are these the titles you can't live without."

The flip side of this is that services still need to take bets and try 10 titles to find that one must-have. Taking those bets is a lot easier if you have hundreds or even thousands of titles than when your entire catalog can be counted on two hands.

Protocol | Workplace

In Silicon Valley, it’s February 2020 all over again

"We'll reopen when it's right, but right now the world is changing too much."

Tech companies are handling the delta variant in differing ways.

Photo: alvarez/Getty Images

It's still 2021, right? Because frankly, it's starting to feel like March 2020 all over again.

Google, Apple, Uber and Lyft have now all told employees they won't have to come back to the office before October as COVID-19 case counts continue to tick back up. Facebook, Google and Uber are now requiring workers to get vaccinated before coming to the office, and Twitter — also requiring vaccines — went so far as to shut down its reopened offices on Wednesday, and put future office reopenings on hold.

Keep Reading Show less
Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.

After a year and a half of living and working through a pandemic, it's no surprise that employees are sending out stress signals at record rates. According to a 2021 study by Indeed, 52% of employees today say they feel burnt out. Over half of employees report working longer hours, and a quarter say they're unable to unplug from work.

The continued swell of reported burnout is a concerning trend for employers everywhere. Not only does it harm mental health and well-being, but it can also impact absenteeism, employee retention and — between the drain on morale and high turnover — your company culture.

Crisis management is one thing, but how do you permanently lower the temperature so your teams can recover sustainably? Companies around the world are now taking larger steps to curb burnout, with industry leaders like LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Bumble shutting down their offices for a full week to allow all employees extra time off. The CEO of Okta, worried about burnout, asked all employees to email him their vacation plans in 2021.

Keep Reading Show less
Stella Garber
Stella Garber is Trello's Head of Marketing. Stella has led Marketing at Trello for the last seven years from early stage startup all the way through its acquisition by Atlassian in 2017 and beyond. Stella was an early champion of remote work, having led remote teams for the last decade plus.
Protocol | China

Livestreaming ecommerce next battleground for China’s nationalists

Vendors for Nike and even Chinese brands were harassed for not donating enough to Henan.

Nationalists were trolling in the comment sections of livestream sessions selling products by Li-Ning, Adidas and other brands.

Collage: Weibo, Bilibili

The No. 1 rule of sales: Don't praise your competitor's product. Rule No. 2: When you are put to a loyalty test by nationalist trolls, forget the first rule.

While China continues to respond to the catastrophic flooding that has killed 99 and displaced 1.4 million people in the central province of Henan, a large group of trolls was busy doing something else: harassing ordinary sportswear sellers on China's livestream ecommerce platforms. Why? Because they determined that the brands being sold had donated too little, or too late, to the people impacted by floods.

Keep Reading Show less
Zeyi Yang
Zeyi Yang is a reporter with Protocol | China. Previously, he worked as a reporting fellow for the digital magazine Rest of World, covering the intersection of technology and culture in China and neighboring countries. He has also contributed to the South China Morning Post, Nikkei Asia, Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. In his spare time, Zeyi co-founded a Mandarin podcast that tells LGBTQ stories in China. He has been playing Pokemon for 14 years and has a weird favorite pick.
Power

The video game industry is bracing for its Netflix and Spotify moment

Subscription gaming promises to upend gaming. The jury's out on whether that's a good thing.

It's not clear what might fall through the cracks if most of the biggest game studios transition away from selling individual games and instead embrace a mix of free-to-play and subscription bundling.

Image: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Subscription services are coming for the game industry, and the shift could shake up the largest and most lucrative entertainment sector in the world. These services started as small, closed offerings typically available on only a handful of hardware platforms. Now, they're expanding to mobile phones and smart TVs, and promising to radically change the economics of how games are funded, developed and distributed.

Of the biggest companies in gaming today, Amazon, Apple, Electronic Arts, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nvidia, Sony and Ubisoft all operate some form of game subscription. Far and away the most ambitious of them is Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, featuring more than 100 games for $9.99 a month and including even brand-new titles the day they release. As of January, Game Pass had more than 18 million subscribers, and Microsoft's aggressive investment in a subscription future has become a catalyst for an industrywide reckoning on the likelihood and viability of such a model becoming standard.

Keep Reading Show less
Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
Protocol | Policy

Lina Khan wants to hear from you

The new FTC chair is trying to get herself, and the sometimes timid tech-regulating agency she oversees, up to speed while she still can.

Lina Khan is trying to push the FTC to corral tech companies

Photo: Graeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images

"When you're in D.C., it's very easy to lose connection with the very real issues that people are facing," said Lina Khan, the FTC's new chair.

Khan made her debut as chair before the press on Wednesday, showing up to a media event carrying an old maroon book from the agency's library and calling herself a "huge nerd" on FTC history. She launched into explaining how much she enjoys the open commission meetings she's pioneered since taking over in June. That's especially true of the marathon public comment sessions that have wrapped up each of the two meetings so far.

Keep Reading Show less
Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

Latest Stories