New Study Claims HBO And Hulu Are Beating Netflix In The Quality Department

the handmaid's tale june

Netflix is the place to be for an incredible variety of original series, and the streaming giant has dabbled in just about every genre on TV. That said, Netflix may not be king in the quality department, even if it is the undeniable winner when it comes to quantity. A new study claims that Netflix falls behind a number of other platforms in quality, with HBO and Hulu claiming the top spots in overall ranking.

Now, comparing the quality of anything is never going to yield 100% definitive results, as quality is entirely subjective. Just as not everybody will have the same opinion of a meal, not everybody will have the same opinion about TV shows. That said, Streaming Observer took steps to try and determine as objectively as possible which platforms ranked higher in quality than others.

Critic sites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes provide user ratings that rank on a scale of 1-100, giving a common scale for rating. The study looked at the Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes ratings for a number of streaming services and cable networks and calculated the averages for each platform by averaging the scores for all of that platform's shows. The ratings taken into account aren't reserved for recent shows or shows that are currently ongoing; the numbers for the study were taken from as far back as the 1990s.

The study used an average from both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes whenever possible but stuck with the numbers from just one whenever numbers from the other were not available. The results of the calculations placed HBO as the outlet with the highest quality, scoring a 75. Hulu is right behind with a score of 74. Take a look at the nine platforms ranked highest in quality:

1. HBO: 752. Hulu: 743. AMC: 744. Amazon: 725. Starz: 726. FX: 727. Netflix: 708. Showtime: 689. USA: 66

The subjective nature of quality measurement obviously means that the ranking of platforms by quality isn't factual, but that the study took a large amount of samples from two different sites (whenever possible) at least means that the sample size was significant. Although the results aren't a definitive rank, there's reason to believe that they're more or less accurate. Interestingly, the report comes a couple of months after Netflix came out on top in total Emmy nominations, beating HBO for the first time in years.

All things considered, it's not altogether shocking that Netflix is relatively low on the list of highest-quality platforms. The streaming service has a massive number of shows in its library. Netflix has spent and borrowed vast sums of money in interest of producing more and more originals. The sheer volume of shows means that some are inevitably going to flop with viewers, and the shows that flop can drag Netflix's overall rating down. Hulu has far fewer series, and many of them are critically acclaimed, especially The Handmaid's Tale. A flop of a series for Hulu with its much smaller library of originals could certainly sink it in the quality department, even if that flop was an outlier.

For what Netflix has already offered this year and has yet to premiere, check out our 2018 Netflix guide. If Hulu is more up your alley, we have a September streaming guide that can help you out. If you're in the mood for some broadcast and cable TV offerings, swing by our fall TV premiere schedule.

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).