How Netflix And Amazon's Sci-Fi Output Changed Dramatically In The Past Two Years

stranger things season 3 kids netflix

If you're a fan of settling in for a good round of TV-watching, then you likely already know that right now is your moment. We have more viewing options than ever between the many networks, cable, premium cable and streaming services that are beginning to launch at a startling rate, so it's pretty fair to call this a true peak TV era. And, because we have so many more options available in general than we did just a decade ago, it means it's easier than ever to find cool genre programming to get hooked on. Netflix and Amazon are doing their part to keep us in science fiction shows, but you might be surprised by which service is doing the most.

Stranger Things has been a massive, genre defining hit for Netflix, and there are certainly plenty of other sci-fi shows to be found on the streamer, but a new report says that Amazon is actually the one that's doubling down on both sci-fi and fantasy. According to numbers from research firm Ampere Analysis (via Business Insider), Amazon's television commissions for science fiction shows doubled from the second half of 2018 through the second half of last year, going from roughly 15% to about 30% by the end of 2019.

Now, this doesn't mean that the sci-fi options on Netflix are currently lacking. In fact, right now, Netflix has 41 such shows in production or development, while Amazon has only 27. But, while Amazon was ramping up its sci-fi commissions, Netflix was slowing down and switching its focus to romance and comedy. It's also worth noting that Netflix has been cancelling shows at a maddening clip for many months now, so it wouldn't be impossible for subscribers to see more new episodes of sci-fi on Amazon, as opposed to Netflix, in a couple of years.

Netflix isn't exactly betting all its money on comedy and romance, but the same period that saw its sci-fi commissions drop (the second half of 2018), saw romance commissions start at only 4% of overall percentage of output, only to go up to 16% by the end of last year. The streamers comedy commission went from 8% to 18% during the same time period.

Amazon has had great luck in the past few months with The Boys and The Expanse, which it saved from cancellation when Syfy dropped the show in 2018. Both series were given an additional season before even debuting on Amazon, so it's pretty clear that this seems to be a space where the service feels it can make its mark.

And, it would seem that, even though Netflix has some very popular sci-fi and fantasy titles like Stranger Things and The Witcher, the powers that be see more benefit to bringing us things like Big Mouth and Sex Education.

Of course, one good thing about the decrease in sci-fi commission from Netflix is that, as with any streamer, whatever's already there that you love is pretty much guaranteed to be around for a very long time, so at least your binge re-watch opportunities are still golden.

There are plenty of new things airing on television right now, so be sure to check out our 2020 winter / spring premiere guide and Netflix schedule to see what you can fill your eyeballs with in the coming weeks!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.