But Amazon (AMZN), the world's largest online retailer, would like to give it a try.
Amazon recently said it greenlit full seasons of originals The Man in the High Castle, The New Yorker Presents and Mad Dogs, as well as children's shows Just Add Magic and The Stinky & Dirty Show. All debuted as part of Amazon's pilot show program. Amazon has also given second seasons to its programs Mozart in the Jungle and Bosch, in addition to children's offerings Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy, Annedrois and Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street.
"Amazon is increasingly competitive with Netflix in exclusives and originals," said Michael Pachter, who covers Internet and media for Wedbush Securities.
The most notable of Amazon's originals so far is Transparent, a comedy-drama starring Jeffrey Tambor as a 60-something father of three who is transitioning from a man to a woman. In January, Transparent won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy, while Tambor won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in the same category.
The critical reception to Amazon's shows suggest the company, which trailed Netflix by several years in launching a video-streaming option, is making strides in the battle for quality original TV content. When it comes to customers, there's still an impression that subscribers may favor one streaming service over another.
"I believe Netflix still has a solid lead," said Kerry Rice, an Internet and digital media analyst with Needham. Rice pointed to his own experience as a new user of a Roku set-top box, which offers both Amazon Prime and Netflix, as evidence that the battle for subscriber favor is not likely to end soon.
"Amazon is definitely getting more competitive with Netflix," Rice said. "I find Netflix has significantly more movie options than Amazon, which I believe is more focused on TV episodes. At the end of the month, I will determine which to unplug."
Wedbush's Pachter, who has a neutral rating and $435-a-share target price on Amazon's stock, said Netflix is easily up to the competitive challenge from Amazon. Still, Pachter said, Amazon isn't to be taken lightly due it its original shows and exclusive content deal with Time Warner's (TWX) HBO. That deal lets Amazon run selected seasons of HBO programs such as The Sopranos and Girls. Netflix doesn't stream any HBO shows.
"Amazon has clearly gained ground," Pachter said, citing the response to Transparent in particular. "It is important to note that many of Netflix's most-successful shows are now available on Amazon for purchase, as few, if any, are owned outright by Netflix," Pachter added.
How many subscribers does Amazon Prime have? That's a matter for debate. Amazon doesn't disclose exact numbers of its Prime subscribers, only saying in its first-quarter earnings report that it has "tens of millions of Prime members." Netflix reported more than 41 million U.S. video-streaming subscribers during the first quarter of this year.
Netflix remains the one to beat. Its highly acclaimed women's-prison comedy Orange Is The New Black is set to begin its third season on Friday.