Group 1 Netbase Project

mumpsimuspreviousAI and Robotics

Oct 25, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)



Group 1 Netbase Project

A Comparative Analysis of Netflix and Hulu Plus

Danae Bennett

Bao Chen

Michael Fox

Jerry Hao

Christopher Merrill

Veebha Sharma


A Comparative Analysis
Utilizing Netbase

: Streaming Movies and TV


Hulu Plus


Both Netflix and Hulu Plus are now competing head to hea
d as direct competitors in the
treaming video category. Both services currently of
fer pricing plans for similar services that
start at $7.99 monthly. Our goal was to utilize the Netbase social media listening and analysis
platform to see what the audie
nce is talking about online.

Hulu Plus, our

analysis is base
d on a brand review
of Hulu with addi
tional brand focus to
include “P

Our goal was to filter out associated noise associated with Hulu ‘free’ service
which is not a direct competitor. We looked at all sources including blogs, forums, news,
social networks,


o reviews,

comments, consumer reviews and all that would
fall in “other


We included all countries and all domains in our search.

For Netflix, we included misspelled variations of the brand by listing Netflicks and Net Flix as
alternate brands.
We also excluded the terms “black Marines Already” and “Constitute
Acceptance” as these produced irrelevant results. We included all sources including blogs,
forums, news, social networks, microblogs, pro reviews, comments, consumer reviews and all
that fa
ll in “other” category in order to compare our results for Netflix directly to those we
obtained for Hulu Plus. We also included all countries and all domains in our search.

In order to share the insights gained thru the analysis performed via Netbase, w
e will first
look at an in
depth analysis of Hulu Plus, followed by an in
depth analysis of Netflix. We will
then compare our findings across the segment, and make recommendations based on our

Analysis of Hulu Plus

Net Sentiment Trend November
2011 through November 2012

Hulu Plus:
What Viewers Liked and Disliked

While loo
king deeper at data on emotions, we see 5 strong indicators such as love, great, like,
good and even love.



included hate, not like, awful and disappointed which
clearly jumped out as something we wanted to look at in our comparison

When looking deeper for an understanding of what people liked and disliked about Hulu Plus,
We see that
the leading topic is

great for show

at 19% of the

625 sound bites classified as
igh precis
ion. Our anlysis of data sugges
d that many
were happy with the selection
of television series and shows that are available with Hulu Plus. We noticed that 12% of
comments wer
e centered on the Hulu Plus free trial and 14% focused on free indicating that
we wer
e still having
some issues

with filtering out comments rel
ated to the “free” Hulu

In reviewing the sources of discontent,
we narrowed

our data to a top ten list and found that
combining the categories of



resulted in 22% of the
bites and an addition

13% appeared
to be unhappy with the contract
. This once again
hinted at consumer discontent tied to

misrepresentation of what customers expected to get
for service

(no commercials).

Deciding to

focus on the fact that both Hulu Plus and Net
flix are head to head competitors,
both charging the same monthly price of $7.99

we decided t
o analyze some of
the sound bite
data to reveal exactly what people

were saying. We found

numerous comments

on the topic
of advertising
. T
he content revealed that most new to the product were under the
assumption that the service would be more similar to N
etflix by not havi


Consumer comments included:

@ajmy I like Netflix better than Hulu Plus which has commercials. Netflix has better movie
selections. Great when u have nothing else.

Finally caved and I'm trying a free week of Hulu Plus... The
re are still commercials... Already
not worth it. #disappointed

@srndur I think Hulu Plu
s sucks. Why am I paying for f*&%
king ads?

“Hulu Plus is annoying with all the commercials. I ...Hulu Plus is annoying with all the

I do like Hul
u Plus but really wish I could opt out of the damn commercials. I’d pay a higher
monthly fee in a heartbeat.

Looks like I'll be abandoning Hulu Plus. I'll spend the $8 a month on malt liquor and just
watch The X
Files on DVD. Forever.

Hulu Plus:

Given what the data had revealed about consumers being unhappy with the fees and
advertising, we decided to further analyze behavior data in an attempt to reveal customer

We looked at 2,711 sound bites based on behavior. Of these,
approximately 440 were focused
on the topic of “cancel”. Once again we reviewed the data and found numerous issues of
misclassification. For instance, statements like, “if I knew Hulu plus would be so good I would
have cancelled my cable subscription long
ago” we found classified in the cancel or negative
bucket for analysis when in fact this was a positive statement.

What we did find, when branching off to the source, was much more negative sentiment
about commercials in the paid service. Not only were pe
ople upset about commercial
advertising, but several sources indicated that there had been a bump in the amount of
advertising played during viewing.

Comments included:

All of a sudden, I am now seeing 3 adds per break vs the previous 2. This starte
d today. The
sentiment of most here is even going to get even worse as people start expe
riencing these
additional adds.”

It'd be nice if commercials could at least be limited to newer shows. I mean, do I really have
to watch 10 commercials just to get t
hrough an episode of 21 Jump Street that was filmed in
the late 80s? (Yes, I watch 21 Jump Street sometimes!) When I first subscribed to Hulu, it was
one or two commercials per break. I haven't really noticed an increase in the amount of
breaks, but I have

noticed we're now getting three commercials per break most of the time. It
is nice to pay $7.99 for this service and mostly say to Hell with cable, but if you're going to
increase our commercials to an annoying amount, at least give purchase more content
give us more to choose from...Or even past episodes/seasons we may have missed. I know it
isn't always up to you guys, but I can't even catch up on Supernatural properly because only
the last few episodes are available. Sigh.

posted on May 13 2012, 11
:36:19 AM

you guys f**king suck with all your ads netflix i dont get it and when on my cable never that
much ads so thats why everyonre hates yall atleast 400+ ppl in my clan that is

posted on May 15 2012, 9:57:13 PM

I didn't mind a short (15

second break) every now and then, but now 4 ads in a break?
This is horrible...I payed for Hulu plus so I wouldn't have to suffer through as many ads while
still being able to watch more recent episodes of the TV shows that I enjoy. If you are going to
ntinue to increase the ads on the service, the most you guys could do is expand the library

We also noticed
the dates from comments on several forums and blog posts
with a bump in sentiment. It appears that
we might now have our answer as

to what else
might be fueling the jump in normalized sentiment or buzz
we see
between March
May of

Hulu Plus: Sources of i
, who is t

looking at where people

were talking online about Hulu Plus, we noticed
interesting differences across gender. Of the 13,722 sound bites classified, we found that


were “commenting”
much more heavily than females

Where are they talking?

Another interest
ing find is that females (23%)
were much more activ
e on social networks
than males (13%)
Microblogs such as Twitter or StatusNet also appeared to be popular with
the female audience coming in at 34% versus 16% of males utilizing the platform.

Male Audience

Hulu Plus:



Our data showed that the big winner
it came to source was blogs at 77,000
of 134,685
sound bites.
Most notable, we found that 66,469

of these sound bites came directly from the domain

ale Audience

Blogs and

Of the 66,469
sound bites coming from the domain, 59,000 (89%) were associated
with the bl
og and 8% came from their

Analysis of Netflix

Net Sentiment Trend November 2011 through November 2012

Overall Sentiment

Netbase provided 3,967,491 soundbites regarding Netflix and 3, 190,322 posts. Their net
sentiment revealed that 267,574 sound bites were positive in nature while 111,275 were
negative. The passion intensity demonstrated that many posts that expressed emoti
whether they were positive or negative in nature, were more likely to be strong emotions
than weak. This shows that when consumers discuss Netflix, they do so with some degree of

What People Liked and Disliked

In order to get a go
od ga
ge on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of Netflix and their
product from a consumer’s standpoint, it was critical to look at the emotions that were being
picked up on. If you look at the chart below, you will

see that positive emotions such

best, good,
love were more popular than the negative emotions of hate, not good, stupid,
and terrible.

When looking specifically at the positive emotions, it is hard to find a link as many comments
are more general in nature such as “I love

Netflix”, “Netflix has great movies”,
“Love spending
the day on Netflix”. Common themes were difficult to come by for positive

however, the negative emotions had some trends. When digging into the data, many negative
posts showed that people wer
e frustrated with technical issues. These issues ranged from
buffering, crashing, “acting up”, lagging, freezing, etc. Another theme that became apparent
was the complaints with the interface, including the search option, the layout, and the

of movies from the 80s and 90s as new releases. Aside from technical and
aesthetic complaints, we found that many of the posts under “hate” were actually positive in
nature and showed the loyalty and high use of Netflix by many customers. Here are some
und bites that were misclassified as negative under “hate”:

I hate Netflix for having all these shows on here

Hate finishing good shows in Netflix!

Damn I hate Netflix for having tv shows

Still awake!! I hate u Netflix for having good movies to watch!!

This continues to show the importance of human eyes reviewing a lot of the data presented
to make sure that it is an accurate portrayal.

When looking at the top likes for Netflix, movies and streaming account for nearly half of the
18,246 high precision

sound bites. This makes sense since these are the primary
uses of
Netflix. People have also expressed being pleased with the Netflix app, the selection of
, and the service they receive.

What is interesting, is that when looking at top dis
likes, the categories “movie”, “not have
movie”, and “selection” accounts for well over half of the 11,285 high precision sound bites.
Digging into this more, Netbase shows that a large complaint for Netflix is their selection, or
, when it
comes to movies. Specifically, many complaints were found on their
limited streaming selection. The categories for “act up”, “slow”, “not work”, and “streaming”
further show that technical issues are a pain spot for Netflix.


Once we dev
eloped insights into what the consumers liked and disliked, it was important to
also see what behavior these feelings lead to. The top 10 behaviors for Netfl
ix are

below, and
the strong positive trend of this graph indicates the positive sentiment for Netf
lix by
Behaviors such as watch, use, and need dominate the space.

However, it is important to also look into the negative behaviors as well to see areas for
improvement. Similar to Hulu Plus though, further digging actually indicates many of t
sound bites under “not watch” are actually positive in nature. Such as:

I hate it when the internet at my house breaks and I can't watch Netflix.

I'm super bored @ work & forgot my headphones so I can't watch netflix.. egh.

wish i actually had plans on
friday night, not watching netflix by myself.

Note to future self: don't watch the ending of "Good Will Hunting" on Netflix when you
first wake up in the morning. You WILL get emotional.

Many of the complaints have to do with the lack of internet and ther
efore the lack of ability to
watch Netflix, which isn’t something that Netflix directly has control over. However,
the fact
that so many people voice frustration when they don’t have access to Netflix, should lead
Netflix to realize the importance of offer
ing Netflix in a variety of
outlets (mobile, mail,
streaming, etc.)
. Specifically, that Netflix is moving away from mail in discs and trying to
move more strictly online may be a bad idea since it could prevent a lot of people from having
access to Netflix
. It also further shows the importance of their mobile app for increased

How much buzz is being generated?


Buzz (Facebook)

Buzz (Twitter)

When looking at the overall buzz that has been generated about Netflix, the numbers are
trending downwards. This isn’t surprising since in October 2011, which is when these
numbers are compared to, Netflix was in the middle of the Netflix and Qwikster fias
co so buzz
was probably at an

high. Since the majority of that buzz was probably negative, the
fact that buzz has declined isn’t neces
sarily a bad thing, especially


so much of the
buzz now is positive. What is really interesting though
is the stark contrast in trends across
social media. The buzz on Twitter has decreased as well, but at an even greater rate. While on
Facebook, the buzz has skyrocketed.
Consumers seem to be taking to

more and
more to rave about Netflix, than any
other medium.

It is also interesting to see that on June 30, 2012 the buzz for Netflix on Twitter was at a peak.
After further analysis, it was discovered that on that day, several soundbites originated from
twitter that both Netflix and Instagram were do
wn. Though this appeared to be a large issue,
after further research from Netbase, you can see that overall sentiment was still very positive
on that day.

Sources of Information. Who is Talking?

Based on 1,539,391 sound bites, males compromised

60% of those commenting on Netflix,
while females only accounted for 40%. Though this shows a large difference in distribution, it
is not

quite as large as the difference

in gender that Hulu recognized.

Where are they talking?

Males and Fem
ales were both equally active (percentage wise) on social networks (20%)
while females were much more active on Microblogs (such as twitter). It is also interesting to
note that males were much more likely to leave comments regarding Netflix than females

Male Audience

Female Audience

Netflix: Overall

Focus on Source

Netbase shows that the majority of buzz regarding Netflix came from Microblogs, with
Forums, and blogs filling out the top three. It is interesting to note that Netflix
blog, however it does not generate enough buzz to even show up as a source on Netbase
However, the website has the second highest number of soundbites (6,500)
within the Blog category. This blog was set up to protest price hikes and genera
tes negative
buzz for Netflix and should be on Netflix’s radar.

Personal Narratives vs. The Professionals

While analyzing Netbase, it is important to remember that professional reviews and news
stories are included in results unless the user se
lects “personal narratives” to show only
consumer opinion. In certain instances, it is possible for professional reviews and other non
consumer opinion to greatly effect net sentiment, in either a positive or negative way.
However, for Netflix, the net sen
timent for personal narratives follows the pattern of the
overall net sentiment. This shows that public opinion lines up well with professional reviews,
news stories, and similar sources.

Net Sentiment for Netflix (including all sources)

Net Sentiment

for Netflix (Personal Narratives Only)

Hulu Plus & Netflix:
Overall Sentiment

We accessed 134,673 sound bites for Hulu Plus and 69,2374 posts. Our net sentiment
revealed that 5,684 sound bites revealed positive emotions and 2,995 were negative.


Netflix, we accessed 3,975,668 sound bites and 3,197,168 posts. Our net sentiment revealed
that 268,203 sound bites revealed positive emotions and 111,506 were negative. What is
interesting is that this means that for Netflix, there were more than twice
the amount of
positive sound bites over negative and there were nearly double the amount of positive
sound bites for Hulu Plus as well. Given this fact, it is reasonable to think that net sentiment is
favorable for both Hulu Plus as well as
. Howeve
r, by viewing the BPI below, it
becomes clear that both Hulu Plus and Netflix are viewed much more negatively than the
soundbites might lead someone to believe. Netflix is clearly in the “Hate” quadrant while Hulu
Plus resides in the dislike quadrant borde
ring hatred. It also becomes clear that Netflix
generates quite a bit more buzz than Hulu Plus, though this is easily revealed by just
analyzing the number of sound bites.

NetBase defines net sentiment is on a scale of
100 to +100, and the average fou
nd for brands
in social is 50.

Less than 50 is expected negative and more
than 50 is
positive. Our results
show that the counts of positives and negatives are large enough so the net sentiment and
passion scores are accurate
Given the results of the BPI, it is clear that both Hulu Plus and
Netflix have a lot to do in regards to public perception and brand identity.

Hulu Plus must not
only generate more buzz, that buzz must also be much more positive. While Netflix creates
ficient amount of buzz, it is crucial that the company works to shift the buzz up to the
“Love” quadrant. Given these issues, the following recommendations have been developed.


It’s important to note that
our recommendations are based on
a preliminary analysis of data

claims that it’s

natural language processing, (NLP) technology is

categorizing sound bites into positive or negative categories.
As a result, further data analysis
is required before coming to solid c
Before proceeding or allocating marketing
dollars, we would do an in depth analysis of a larger sample of sound bites to test
classification accuracy and confirm our final strategy.

However, based strictly on the data we
collected, we have come

up with the following preliminary strategies for each company.

Hulu Plus: Recommendations


Upon analysis of data for Hulu Plus, it appears that a great deal of the discontent in
existing customers arises from the fact that they were under the
impression that the
product was similar to Netflix and there would be no commercials.

Many are disappointed that they are still dealing with commercial advertising and our
data indicates that many believe the company has increased the number of
s it is running over time. We also saw comments that lead us to believe
that people would have even been happier to pay more money for the content if they
could just escape the commercials.

In the days of internet transparency, it appears that Hulu is tak
ing a negative hit as
being deceptive with the Hulu Plus product offering. We would recommend that Hulu
modify their Plus product to eliminate or reduce commercial advertising. Another
option we would consider is to add a premium product, for slightly mor
e money per
month, which

meets the needs of consumers that are happy with their selection. We
noticed several comments that people would be willing to pay more to escape
commercial viewing. These changes can help shift Hulu Plus into a more positive
nt. While increasing offerings also serves as a talking point for consumers to
hopefully increase buzz and increase the “size” of Hulu Plus’ bubble.

Advertising and Customer Relationship Management

66,649 sound bites coming from the domain
, the company doesn’t have
to look hard to find where they can focus their attention on managing customer
relations, increasing positive mentions, sentiment and generating buzz. We would
recommend that the company implement an aggressive listening campaign

with a
strategy of responding quickly to the concerns of customers. as a source would also be the first place the company could start to review
how popular an additional commercial free product might be based on a detailed
analysis of sentiment
data and other tactics. If the company decides to offer a new

a great place to drive awareness and generate buzz is right though their
existing blog and forums. Utilizing the blog and the forums is a great source for the
company to increase the am
ount of buzz generated, thus increasing the “size” of their

We would suggest that the company implement a strategy for further analysis of
customer data to see what is happening during commercial run time with their
viewing audience. Data might i
ndicate a correlation between viewer drop off, an
increased volume of commercial advertising and account cancellations.


Though Netflix
is generating a large amount of buzz, a lot of it is less than favorable. So
much so in fact,
that the BPI shows Netflix occupies itself primarily in the “Hate”
quadrant. This can be a long term problem for Netflix if it doesn’t find a way to shift
their buzz up to the “Love” quadrant. One thing Netflix can do, is to put more energy
into their blog

and improve it’s
. Hulu Plus does a good job of supplying
positive buzz through their blog and this is
a strategy

that Netflix can learn from.
has a blog but it isn't generating
a large enough amount of

buzz to even show
up on Netbase.

Through Netbase data, it is apparent that
Netflix is also thought of a lot in terms of
movies while Hulu Plus is thought of for

. Netflix also carries a large amount

shows but it is not mentioned nearly as much. Netflix should work on an
rtising campaign that shows that they aren’t just for movies but you can also
catch up on complete seasons of your favorite shows, and do so without the
interruption of

which is not the case with Hulu Plus. The other issues
that dominate the
tbase buzz, is the technical issues people face with Netflix and
their lack of inventory. For this reason, if Netflix wants to become a more loved brand,
it is essential that they increase their inventory while also figuring out a way to solve
for their lo
ng lag times, buffering, and other technical issues.


lu Plus and Netflix compete in the

growing category of movie streaming. As technology
changes and these services grow in popularity, it is likely that other companies

emerge to
compete in this space. Given the current competitive landscape and the threat of future
competitors, it is essential for both companies to improve their brand image in the social
space. While analyzing Hulu Plus and Netflix, it quickly became ap
parent that there are some
things that Hulu Plus does very well and there are yet others that Netflix does very well. It is
for this reason, that companies should not only use Netbase as a source of information for
their own company, but they must also uti
lize the data to constantly keep an eye out on their

Hulu Plus must generate more buzz, while also coming up with a product that limits or
eliminates commercials, should exercise more accurate advertising standards, and should
continue to le
verage their blog and forums. Netflix should increase their inventory, solve
their technical issues, and advertise their

show availability and lack of commercials. We
feel that the data that we obtained from Netbase just touches on the service and more

depth analysis should be done to see which of these recommendations would have the largest
impact and is the most obtainable so that priorities and action plans can be developed. We
understand that some of these action items are more complicated than w
e, as outsiders, can
understand (such as issues with agreements with vendors/suppliers, technical capabilities,
etc.) but we also feel that both companies have some “quick wins” and marketing issues that
may be easier to address.