I guess I’m not the only one addicted to watching old Office episodes on Netflix: The company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said yesterday that TV shows account for half of all streaming hours on its Watch Instantly service. “TV has never been never more than 20 percent on DVD,” he added according to paidContent, at its Battle for the Digital Home conference, where Sarandos was speaking.
Part of the reason for this disparity has to do with the fact that Netflix is still playing catchup in the movie department. Customers can access a much wider movie catalog on DVD than via streaming, so movies are naturally rented more often than streamed. Sarandos acknowledged this issue by saying that much of the early streaming catalog wasn’t up to par with disc rentals. “We did the deals we could get — in other words, we got junk,” he said, adding: “(T)hat eventually led us away from movies and towards TV content.”
Netflix has since signed a number of high-profile movie deals, most recently with Epix and Relativity Media. However, don’t expect the company to neglect the TV show audience: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said on a recent earnings call that the company is “rapidly expanding” its TV show catalog, adding ” thousands of TV episodes.”
This aggressive expansion of TV show content is in part due to the launch of Hulu Plus, which Hastings called a “direct competitor” that has to be taken seriously.
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