In a shock move, HBO is considering licensing its content to Netflix. Which shows would be good candidates?

23 June, 2023

In an unexpected turn in the streaming sector, Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly discussing the possibility of licensing some of its original HBO content to competitor Netflix. This strategy diverges from the company's usual approach. Past instances of this sort include HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm airing on the TV Guide Channel and a few HBO blockbusters licensed to Amazon before HBO Max's launch. However, nearly a decade has passed since an HBO original was available on a platform not owned by Warner Bros. Discovery or part of a strategic revenue-sharing partnership such as Amazon Channels.

The roster of HBO shows potentially heading to Netflix remains undisclosed, but according to this recent Wrap article, it includes high-profile titles such as Insecure. Until the final list is revealed, we can speculate on the HBO shows that align well with Netflix's content catalog. Data from Parrot Analytics can guide us here, as it provides insights into audience overlap between different shows.

The chart below displays the HBO and HBO Max original shows with the most significant audience overlap with Netflix originals, expressed as a shared audience percentage. It reveals that Tenacious D, despite concluding in 2000 and not being a blockbuster hit, shares a substantial portion of its viewers with lighthearted Netflix productions such as Somebody Feed Phil and W/ Bob & David.


The roster of shows with high Netflix affinity also includes recent productions. For instance, HBO Max's animated series Adventure Time: Distant Lands shares a viewer base with Netflix animated series like Arcane and She-Ra and the Princesses of PowerWatchmen parallels Netflix’s superhero titles and dark dramas in terms of audience.

A genre-based analysis of the top 20 shows with the highest affinity to Netflix content reveals Drama as the dominant genre with 8 titles. The drama shows are led by HBO's massive hit Game of Thrones. Among the most-demanded shows, the second is Young Justice, an animated superhero series that aired its latest season on HBO Max and is, along with Watchmen, the sole representative of the "Action and Adventure" genre.

Comedy is another genre strongly represented among the shows sharing a high affinity with Netflix titles, with 6 titles. Shows such as Bored to DeathVice Principals, and Crashing: US align well with Netflix’s extensive comedy collection. Finally, two documentaries, Q: Into The Storm and George Carlin's American Dream, make the list. These shows would find similar audiences on Netflix, since it’s the preferred platform for documentary content in the US market.

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