Is Netflix the king of streaming? Some critics think HBO Max and Apple TV+ have better quality content

The fight to become the No. 1 streaming service continues, as each service has something different to offer.

Netflix has an enormous volume of things to watch while producing hit series like “Stranger Things.” But the streaming service may struggle to keep up with two other contenders that are producing quality content — Apple TV+ and HBO Max.

A study by Self Financial found that shows on Apple TV+ have the highest average IMDb scores (7.24), even though the service has fewer than 70 titles to choose from.

Another study on streaming wars concluded that while critics think HBO has the highest-quality content, viewers think it’s Netflix.

Let’s look at some recently trending shows on each of the three streaming services for comparison.

Netflix (starting at $9.99 per month) has found success through shows like “Inventing Anna,” “Bridgerton,” “Bad Vegan,” “The Ultimatum,” “Pieces of Her” and “Vikings: Valhalla.”

Meanwhile, shows like “Tokyo Vice,” “Julia,” “The Gilded Age,” “Euphoria” and “Our Flag Means Death” have worked for HBO Max ($15 per month subscription) as of late.

With a small but mighty library of shows, Apple TV+ (starting at $4.99 per month) stays in the game with “Severance,” “Pachinko,” “WeCrashed,” “The After Party” and “The Servant.”

What’s instantly obvious is that many of Netflix’s top contenders are of the true-crime genre, which depends on interesting turns of events and a whole lot of repetitive b-roll, like “Inventing Anna” and “Bad Vegan,” both with an average critics Rotten Tomatoes score of 63% and 89%.

“Is It Cake?” and “The Ultimatum,” Netflix’s newest reality TV shows, are low production value shows, akin to most reality shows on air, with an average critic score of 60% and 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively, and an even lower audience score (41% and 20%, respectively).

Netflix’s “Vikings,” a medieval fantasy show that cost $4 million an episode to make, doesn’t come close to the cultural impact of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which cost an average of $15 million per episode.

HBO Max and Apple TV+ both display a consistently eclectic lineup full of thought-provoking comedy and drama, writer Paul Tassi wrote for Forbes. Take for example “Severance,” one of television’s most promising shows, which explored the boundary between your work self and home self through a tense workplace horror that is a slow burn until the very end. Or “Pachinko,” a story following three generations of Korean immigrants and the generational trauma passed on through the family, which has been praised for attention to detail as a historical epic. Both of these Apple TV+ shows have a Rotten Tomatoes critics rating of 98% and an average audience score of above 90%.

Or consider “Euphoria,” the second most-watched HBO show since 2004 (the first is “Game of Thrones”), with an average critics score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Other streaming services like Paramount Plus and Peacock are still finding their footing with a smaller amount of content, while Disney+ is its own universe, full of Marvel and “Star Wars” content.

Amazon and Hulu also have big libraries full of television and movies, producing notable works like Prime Video’s “Wheel of Time” and Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” but these two streaming services have fewer most-watched titles, said Tassi.

For now, it is hard to say that Netflix will be completely dethroned, but looking at the rich stories HBO and Apple TV+ are pursuing, it will be interesting to see what viewers will start leaning toward.

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