How Popular Netflix's Originals Are Compared To Its Licensed Content

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Netflix is undeniably king in the streaming game, and even its biggest competitors don't even come close overall. The combination of original content like Stranger Things and House of Cards with licensed content like Grey's Anatomy and Breaking Bad has given it appeal to consumers everywhere. A big question has been whether original options or licensed options are more popular with consumers, and we may now have a shocking answer: according to new numbers, licensed content is vastly more popular than original content.

A new data analysis from analytics platform 7Park Data finds that a whopping 80% of Netflix viewing in the U.S. is licensed content, with only 20% of viewing going to original series. Given how much money Netflix has devoted to original programming and how many original programs the streaming giant hopes to produce in the coming years, the disproportionate preferences of consumers may come as a surprise. THR reports that there's even more data suggesting that licensed content is more popular with subscribers.

The same analysis from 7Park Data also finds that 42% of Netflix subscribers watch primarily licensed content with little attention for original content. That 42% watches licensed content for 95% of their overall streaming, and a mere 18% of subscribers based in the U.S. can be categorized as "originals dominant," which means viewing 40%-100% of originals compared to licensed projects. 58% of new subscribers watched licensed programming before jumping into originals, which indicates that the majority of customers were not signing up just because of the buzz for Stranger Things or the Marvel series. The numbers taken into account for this analysis were gathered in the 12-month period that came to an end in September 2017.

In that span of time, the most popular originals were Stranger Things Season 1, Orange Is the New Black Season 5, House of Cards Season 5, Luke Cage Season 1, The Defenders, Iron Fist Season 1, 13 Reasons Why, Ozark, Santa Clarita Diet, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Master of None Season 2, Narcos Season 3, Grace & Frankie Season 3, Black Mirror Season 3, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3, and BoJack Horseman Season 4. Oy. To compare, the most popular licensed titles for that period are Breaking Bad, Grey's Anatomy, The Blacklist, How I Met Your Mother (prior to its move to Hulu), The Office, Parks and Recreation, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, The Flash, and Friends.

All of this said, it should be noted that 7Park Data gathered this data without official numbers from Netflix. Desktop viewing is the only type of viewing taken into account, which means viewing via mobile devices and connected-TV platforms is not part of the calculations. The analysis firm also hasn't specified what the margin of error is for the study that produced these numbers or how many of its 2 million panel members are based in the U.S. rather than international markets. It's also possible that the numbers would be significantly different if a different 12-month period was taken into account.

For what you can watch in Netflix's library of licensed content and originals, swing by our 2018 Netflix premiere rundown. If streaming isn't always your style, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule and summer TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).