Netflix's 2 Billion Streaming Hours In Q4 Blows Away Competitors


Credit: Netflix

Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) subscribers appear to be spending far more time viewing the service’s streaming content than do users of any other online video destination. According to new data Netflix released today, its 20 million subscribers consumed 2 billion hours of streaming TV shows and movies in Q4 2011.

Using simple averages, that would mean each subscriber streamed 100 hours during the quarter, or approximately 2,000 minutes per month (about 33 hours). That’s roughly 4 1/2 times the level of YouTube’s time spent/viewer. According to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), which dominates total monthly volume of online video, had approximately 151 million U.S. users in November, 2011, who viewed 444.5 minutes each, on average.

Netflix surely benefits from the fact that virtually all of its content is long-form and is subscription-based, whereas YouTube is mostly shorter clips that are free. However, even Hulu, which has plenty of TV shows, logged 199.3 minutes per viewer in November according to comScore, one-tenth of Netflix’s time/viewer. All of comScore’s remaining top 10 ranked video sites had less than 100 minutes per viewer per month.

Admittedly it can be sketchy to compare data from different sources, and the Netflix numbers are not validated by a third party. But if you take them at face value, they provide good evidence that Netflix streaming subscribers are getting lots of use out of the service, making it a pretty compelling value. I’ve been critical of Netflix’s decision to over-emphasize streaming at the expense of diminishing DVDs, but at least for those subscribers taking advantage of streaming, Netflix appears to be the clear-cut market leader in usage.

Will Richmond is president and founder of Broadband Directions LLC, a market intelligence, publishing and consulting firm specializing in broadband-delivered video, which he established in 2003. Will edits and publishes VideoNuze, a daily online publication widely read by broadband video decision-makers.

This article originally appeared in VideoNuze.



I agree that Netflix appears to be the clear-cut leader when it comes to streaming entertainment to your TV.

Mike Donatello

Will, I think your assumption of high user satisfaction is mistaken.

I don’t know whether Verizon is throttling, but I can’t get Netflix at HD quality on any evening — weekend or not.  I have a 35 mbit FiOS connection and Cat6 throughout the house, so it’s unlikely the issue is on my end.  Same for other customers in the general (Northern Virginia) area with whom I’ve spoken.

Pumping out gobs of product that still result in a poor consumer experience is not the path to success.  Ask a sample of large metro publishers.

Will Richmond

Marc – I do think total streaming hours matter – whether ad-based or subscription. On the assumption that the higher the usage, the greater the user satisfaction (give or take), then this leads to longer subscriber retention, better P&L, etc. Only good news I think for Netflix.

Marc Cuevas

Do total streaming hours matter to a non ad based provider?  It’s like holding up the fact that your costs are the highest? And with no additional revenue.

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