Netflix originals top HBO in Morgan Stanley survey

Judging by the reaction on social media, the upcoming season premiere of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is the No. 1 greatest, most-awesome show in the entire known universe and if you aren’t anticipating its arrival on April 24, then you are a sad, sad person.

Too bad “Game of Thrones” won’t be on the No. 1 video-streaming service. At least not when it comes to a survey by Morgan Stanley in which Netflix has knocked HBO off the top spot it had held for five years running.

Morgan Stanley released the results of its sixth-annual survey of consumers’ opinions on video-streaming services’ original programming, and for the first time, Netflix came in first place ahead of HBO.

According to the survey of 2,501 American adults who were asked what streaming service had the “best original programming,” 29 percent put Netflix on top, while 18 percent said they thought HBO was the king of the hill. In last year’s survey, HBO’s originals were called the “best” by about 31 percent of the surveys’s respondents, and Netflix was in second place with 23 percent.

After Netflix and HBO, Amazon Instant and Showtime were tied for third place with 5 percent each, followed by Hulu, Starz, Cinemax, Encore and Epix.

It’s no secret that Netflix has made original programming a cornerstone of its efforts to build upon its position in the so-called “over-the-top” (OTT) streaming industry and compete against the likes of HBO and other premium-TV networks. Netflix plans to launch 600 hours worth of original shows and movies this year, including the upcoming fourth season of “Orange Is The New Black,” which debuts on June 17.

And Netflix’s strategy of using originals to lure in subscribers seems to be having an effect on why consumers are choosing to pay for the company’s $9.99 monthly fee. Morgan Stanley noted that 45 percent of Netflix subscribers said original programming was a “driver” of their memberships.

HBO currently offers its HBO Now service without a TV subscription for $15 a month, while Showtime’s OTT service costs $10.99 a month.

But while HBO, Showtime and other premium TV networks have gotten in on the OTT game, it remains to be seen if they will generate enough subscribers to make up for those who are scaling back their pay-TV packages, or cutting the cord with such services altogether.

Morgan Stanley said 19 percent of pay-TV subscribers answering the survey plan to “definitely” cancel their premium TV services over the next year, up from 13 percent who gave the same answer in 2015. An additional 27 percent said they would “probably” cancel such services over the next 12 months.

However, nobody thinks HBO is going to go away. Even among survey respondents who said then subscribe to Netflix, 50 percent also said they also subscribed to HBO. To use a phrase from “Game Of Thrones,” “Winter is coming,” but even with Netflix getting more attention for its original shows,  it’s going to be while before it gets really cold for HBO.

Photo: An LG Electronics4K Ultra HD TV showing Netflix programming. (PRNewsFoto/LG Electronics USA)


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