At this point, it’s become a general feeling—a malaise if you will—that Netflix’s selection of movies sucks. I don’t have hard data for this, I just feel it and I see people flip out about it every time the streaming service raises its prices. But what if I told you it doesn’t suck? That’s a fact, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
The folks at Streaming Observer did the hard work of figuring out which of the big four video streaming services—Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO NOW/GO—had the most movies in its library that hold a “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Shockingly, Netflix had more fresh films than all of its closest competitors combined. That’s despite the fact that Prime Video alone carries more than 4.5 times the number of streamable options as Netflix. Here’s the breakdown of Streaming Observer’s findings:
Netflix - 596 movies “Certified Fresh” out of 3,839 available movies.
Prime Video - 232 movies “Certified Fresh” out of 17,461 available movies.
Hulu - 223 movies “Certified Fresh” out of 2,336 movies available to stream.
HBO - 38 movies “Certified Fresh” out of 815 movies available to stream.
Of course, the Tomatometer is not an empirical indicator of quality, it just means that a majority of critics included in Rotten Tomatoes’ rating had overall positive feelings about a particular movie. And Netflix’s selection has been shrinking for years as it moves to make 85 percent of its content produced in-house. But this does, at least, give some indication that Netflix is not a wasteland for movies, yet.
I think there are two big lessons here. Prime is overstuffed with crap, so you can stop scrolling thinking there’s a hidden gem in there. And maybe the feeling of sparse selection on streaming services has more to do with our ability to ravenously plow through content at minimal cost. At this point, I’ve certainly watched the entirety of what would’ve filled an average Blockbuster Video store back in the day and then some. Maybe, I should read a book.