People are using Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in very different ways

Netflix is the streaming leader in original series like “Glow.”
Netflix is the streaming leader in original series like “Glow.”
Image: Netflix
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Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime may be competitors, but they serve their audiences in very different ways.

People use Netflix most often to watch original series, Amazon to watch movies, and Hulu to watch TV shows from other networks, a report from Hub Entertainment Research shows. The firm surveyed nearly 1,800 US consumers who watched at least 5 hours of TV per week during the month of December about their entertainment consumption.

Netflix has been outspending its rivals to load up on original TV shows and movies, which will soon fill half of its library. The strategy appears to be paying off, as original shows are what people are watching the most. About 37% of the time audiences spend watching Netflix is spent watching original series from the service, according to Hub’s survey.

Streaming-video rival Hulu built up a robust repository of popular TV shows licensed from other networks, including series from its parent companies Disney, NBC, Fox, and Turner, which is why more than half of the time spent watching Hulu—54%—is spent watching non-original series.

Amazon, meanwhile, dominates in movies; 39% of time spent watching Amazon Prime is spent watching movies, Hub found. The e-commerce giant built its video platform on movie and TV rentals and purchases first, and has a solid selection in its subscription-service, Amazon Prime, as well, including acclaimed titles like Manchester by the Sea and The Big Sick.

In age of the “peak TV,” TV shows have become the dominant form of entertainment among Hub survey respondents overall. But that picture changes when you look at the 18-24 year olds polled. That cohort spent more time gaming and watching online videos on sites like YouTube and Facebook than they did watching TV shows through traditional channels or platforms like Netflix. Subscription-video services may soon face more competition from these other forms of entertainment than each other.