Amazon and Netflix’s numbers have come out for this year (in a very limited fashion). In a comparison of who had recent top billed movies and TV shows, Amazon Prime showed itself to be closing the gap in June, with Hulu Plus still ruling the roost in TV according to the poll. However, there are severe limitations to the poll that make the apparent gap between Amazon and Netflix, and the much greater number Hulu Plus has, practically nonexistent.
The first and greatest flaw in the poll is that they measure the availability of shows through title. If you have more titles but fewer episodes (such as Hulu Plus versus Netflix), then you still win. This makes it easy to manipulate the statistics, as Hulu Plus has far more titles but far fewer complete seasons than Netflix does. Amazon’s own collection is shown to be rapidly growing, as its collection of titles (which is, like Amazon’s, mostly of complete seasons and shows) grew from 7% to 12% of “available hit shows”.
The second flaw is that the study did not adequately compare the services. They compared the availability of the top 50 movies from the past three years and the top 75 TV shows from the past four years. But a large part of why Netflix is appealing is that they offer enormous backlogs of the shows, offering many older shows and old seasons of continuing shows. Hulu Plus carries almost no major pictures, and Amazon carries only those whose streaming rights are widely available. The study also talks about Redbox Instant, which of course carries almost no television and mostly only the most recent movies. All in all, this is a curious study, but one that needs drastic improvement.
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