Netflix just became cable’s biggest TV network


Netflix (s NFLX) subscribers watched more than one billion hours of video in June, according to the company’s CEO Reed Hastings. That means that U.S. subscribers watched around 80 minutes of Netflix per day last month, which makes the service more popular than any traditional U.S. cable network, estimated BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.

Hastings revealed the new number in a public Facebook post Tuesday morning, which also had him congratulate the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos:

“Congrats to Ted Sarandos, and his amazing content licensing team. Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June. When House of Cards and Arrested Development debut, we’ll blow these records away. Keep going, Ted, we need even more!”

Greenfield took it upon himself to do a little back-of-the envelope math based on that number for a blog post Tuesday (registration required), and estimated that 90 percent of that viewing originated in the U.S. He also suggested that Netflix had around 24 million U.S. subscribers in June – we won’t know the exact number until the company releases its quarterly earnings later this month. Based on those numbers, Greenfield estimated that U.S. subscribers watched an average of 80 minutes of Netflix every day last month.

That puts the service right up there with many traditional TV networks, and in fact could make it more popular than all of the U.S. cable networks. We don’t have June viewership numbers of most cable networks yet, but based on earlier trends, he concluded that Netflix was the most viewed cable network last month. Equally impressing: In households that have Netflix, it even beats broadcast networks like ABC (s DIS) and CBS. (s CBS)

Netflix has long positioned itself as not a cable killer but a cable-like network, competing with HBO and Showtime as opposed to TV itself. Regardless of these semantics, the recent numbers show that Netflix is definitely starting to eat into cable networks’ market share.


Lawrence Kao

Wait a second, there are a few people here who are questioning back of the envelope math or misleading reported numbers but we’re 100% okay with only 5,000 Nielsen boxes collecting data for the entire United States?


Wait a second, there are a few people here who are questioning back of the envelope math or misleading reported numbers but we’re 100% okay with only 5,000 Nielsen boxes collecting data for the entire United States?

John Bailo

I have been watching a lot more TV episodes on Netflix. I really did not want to subscribe to Hulu so this gives me additional content.

One thing I notice is that many sites for shows also stream their own episodes (Portlandia) …although for limited times. Netflix seems to have a two year lag to get the latest episodes.

Anthony Mendez

No, 90% of those hours were my kids on the Roku. (NOTE TO MATH GEEKS: I’m aware that June only had 720 hours, but we make it work. OKTHXBYE)


Numbers may be accurate, but headline is absolutely misleading. We see that a lot around here.


Really amazing! How true Netflix is the biggest TV network in the US now a day…? I will made some research on this. Am a bit interested.

Dave Turner

really.. your not going to at least question those numbers?

Janko Roettgers

Dave, Netflix is a publicly traded company. If Hastings were to lie about the usage of its service, he would very likely violate federal securities laws. I’m confident that Hastings had that number thoroughly vetted before he published it on his Facebook wall. As for Greenfield’s conclusions, I called it back-of-the envelope math for a reason.

Ari Herzog

I likely make up the crux of that 1 billion, as I am marathon speeding through the Stargate franchise.


Let’s see… So phony numbers + made-up “back of the envelope” math + desperate Reed Hastings hype = A gigaOm hanjie?

The headline is false. Smacks of desperate journalism…


I am not sure how the numbers are tracked but I would like to see if there was a jump in average hours watched in June versus May. I noticed in June, Netflix introduced a new feature that automatically started playing the next episode of a series after the previous one had ended. That being said, I generally turn on Netflix more than cable because there are no commercials.

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