Netflix vs HBO Max. Who is winning?

There are 5 major factors that will decide the fate of the Netflix vs HBO Max video streaming battle. Read on to know each one of them and see who is the winner
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The streaming industry has become a highly competitive space in recent years. Numerous streaming platforms have launched lately, offering a variety of shows and movies but two players have emerged on top: Netflix & HBO Max. There are 5 factors that will decide the fate of the Netflix vs HBO Max battle. In this blog, we will go through each one of them.

HBO, founded in 1972, launched its own streaming platform in 2020 called HBO Max and started the streaming platform’s global rollout in 2021. While Netflix launched in 1997, it pivoted to a streaming service in 2007 and has since been catering to video-on-demand content for its viewers. 

HBO just recently entered the streaming wars but it is quickly catching up with its biggest rival, Netflix.

Content Quality over Quantity | Netflix vs HBO Max

HBO has efficiently carried forward its scheduling, promotion, and marketing expertise of 50+ years to its streaming platform as well. Netflix entered the Emmy Awards race in 2013 with its reputed titles House of Cards and Arrested Development. This experience gap is clearly visible in the Emmy Award nominations. HBO & HBO Max together scored 140 Emmy nominations in 2022 while Netflix stood at 105 nominations. 

Netflix has 36,000 hours of content on its platform while HBO Max has overall 10,000 hours of content added till now on its app. Correlating these stats with the number of nominations, it’s quite evident that HBO Max has extensively focused on quality content over quantity. 

Many of the Netflix shows fail to renew for successive seasons because of low viewership is yet another proof that Netflix’s algorithm isn’t really able to identify what’s best for their platform with accuracy.

Winner: HBO

Vernacular Content | Netflix vs HBO Max

Netflix is currently a global content engine. It is collaborating with regional and national artists in 190 countries to churn out content on the basis of user data in the respective region. The Reed Hastings-owned platform is focusing on vernacular web shows, films, and language content to widen the reach and deepen consumer engagement. So far, Netflix has successfully captured audience attention, but there is another competitor that has been focusing on localized content – Prime Video. Prime Video’s strategy till now has been largely acquiring major titles and exclusively streaming them on the platform.

On the other hand, HBO isn’t yet focused on vernacular content. They have a global approach and focus on high-budget quality content with an increased rewatchable value. It would be a huge task and might take years for HBO to catch up to Netflix in the vernacular content segment.

Winner: Netflix

Original Content Library | Netflix vs HBO Max

If you think about it, Netflix is just a modern-day movie production studio that went global by building an advanced technology platform that streams movies and shows. Netflix faces major competition from the Big 6 studios: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures & Walt Disney Pictures

HBO Max, which is owned by Warner Bros. studio, gets access to the top WB titles but Netflix has found a competitive edge with its huge content library. According to Statista, Netflix has the highest original content among all streaming platforms, Prime Video ranks second followed by Hulu, and then comes HBO Max. 

Winner: Netflix

Monetization | Netflix vs HBO Max

Netflix has been losing subscribers in India due to various different reasons like competitive pricing, multiple people using accounts, and tough competition from players like Disney+Hotstar, Voot, Prime Video, and other regional video streaming apps. Netflix has recently partnered with Microsoft to monetize its content library with ads. 

Netflix is late in the advertising game. HBO Max has already monetized its content via ads and introduced different tiered pricing. Netflix’s partnership with Microsoft is also said to be the first step towards utilizing the latter’s Gaming dominance in the industry to further monetize the time between the launch of major titles by keeping the users engaged throughout. 

Winner: HBO Max

User Experience | Netflix vs HBO Max

The user experience of Netflix is by far the best among all the players. An advanced recommendation system like Netflix is something that the competitors will take a couple of years to develop. Netflix’s fluid and intuitive design can be credited for the premium look and feel of the app. Whereas HBO Max is still working on improving its user experience.

Winner: Netflix

Our take

Seems like its old legacy TV content distribution is making a comeback all over again. The effort and money it takes to create a high-budget movie/show are unable to recover the costs and generate profits with the existing ad-free subscription model. Streaming companies tried it out and apparently the best way to make money is ads. Just like every other industry that once became highly competitive, the streaming industry will also see a trend of mergers and acquisitions. We already saw some major acquisitions like Disney’s deal with Marvel Studios. 

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