Netflix vs. Hulu: Why Netflix Makes Better Original Shows

Family watching Netflix

Family watching Netflix | Lauren Lewis

The battle for original streaming content has always been a heated one. While network television wrestles for primetime prominence, Netflix and Hulu have been at war over their own respective lineups. In terms of their primary products, their offerings couldn’t be more different.

Netflix is primarily an after-the-fact host of full TV seasons along with new movie releases, while Hulu’s bread and butter is next-day streaming for network TV shows. What the two do share though is quickly becoming the most valuable commodity in the industry: Original programming.

Often, the service that offers the best collection of self-made shows will be the one that gets the user on the fence between the two. And to their credit, Hulu has vastly expanded both the quality and quantity of its lineup in recent years. But that doesn’t change the fact that Netflix still reigns supreme, and here are four reasons why.

1. One word: Marvel

Netflix vs. Hulu: Why Netflix Makes Better Original Shows

Marvel’s Daredevil | Source: Netflix

Unless Warner/DC decides to inexplicably pick up their CW operation and move it over to Hulu, there’s no conceivable way they can challenge Netflix’s superiority in this department. A halfway-well-made superhero series is almost a guaranteed hit in today’s comic-book-crazed world of entertainment, and Marvel is well aware of that fact.

Luckily for Netflix, the studio has made a home on their streaming service, offering an expansive universe that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders. The Marvel machine is in full gear, and there’s simply no stopping it right now. Also worth noting, Netflix’s recent deal with Disney only feeds this momentum further.

2. Achieving both quantity and quality

Netflix vs. Hulu: Why Netflix Makes Better Original Shows

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright on House of Cards | Source: Netflix

Yes, Hulu has some incredible shows in its own right. Casual is a skillfully executed dark comedy, The Path might just be their best drama ever, and J.J. Abrams was a huge get for 11.22.63. But even with those arrows in their quiver, they don’t have anything that meets the quality of House of Cards. Or Orange is the New Black. Or Daredevil. Or even Grace and Frankie, Black Mirror, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

The list is nigh endless, and Hulu has struggled to keep pace with the sheer quantity of quality shows Netflix seems to specialize in. Netflix certainly has its fair share of duds too, having signed Adam Sandler on for a baffling four-year movie deal. But they’re also willing to throw a lot of garbage against the wall until something sticks, which gives them a notable edge over Hulu.

There’s quite literally something for every audience somewhere in Netflix’s extensive lineup of shows and movies. What’s more, is that their collection of prestige dramas is unrivaled even on network television, while Hulu generally specializes in mid-tier “well, that was alright I guess” kind of shows.

3. No one attracts talent the way Netflix does

Netflix vs. Hulu: Why Netflix Makes Better Original Shows

Orange is the New Black | Source: Netflix

In terms of A-list talent, Netflix outpaces Hulu by a landslide. Abrams’s 11.22.63 was Hulu’s biggest get ever, but the depth thins out after that. Compare that to Netflix, having featured showrunners and producers like David Fincher, Steven DeKnight, Doug Petrie, Marco Ramirez, Jenji Kohan, Charlie Brooker, Tina Fey, and more.

It’s a treasure trove of recognizable and accomplished creative names, all of which are paired with Hollywood mainstays like Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Martin Sheen among others.

Hulu is just now starting to attach big names to their various projects, but it could very well be a case of too little too late, given the massive head start Netflix has on them. From here, they have a whole lot of catching up to do before they can even approach the level their main competitor achieved a long time ago when it comes to talented creative types.

4. The all-at-once airing schedule

Netflix vs. Hulu: Why Netflix Makes Better Original Shows

Source: Netflix

This is where we see the most pronounced difference between Netflix and Hulu. Whereas Hulu sticks with a more conventional weekly episode release schedule for their original shows, Netflix plays right into the our need for instant gratification, releasing every episode of a season all at once.

It’s an approach that affords a viewer maximum binge-ability, and while in theory it doesn’t keep you around for much longer than a weekend, it’s still a massive boon to audiences. We utilize original streaming shows to get an experience that differs from what we’d get on basic cable, and Netflix’s “all at once” approach feeds into that more than anything.

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