TV viewers fall under the Netflix spell

by Melissa Lemberg

Published on
September 20, 2016

It’s the binge-watching trend sweeping the world — Netflix is taking over 74.76 million laptop, tablet and television screens globally, and it’s significantly changed the way we keep ourselves entertained. It’s also given rise to blockbuster series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, shaking up traditional TV and video production as we know it and scooping up awards in the process (Netflix won nine Emmys at this year’s awards).

Now, with Apple earmarked to join the digital party, the question on everyone’s lips is, does streaming spell the end of the television network?

Let’s look at the stats…

As of the end of 2015, Netflix reported 74.7 million streaming customers worldwide watched 42.5 billion hours of video, with the majority of customers located in the US (44.7 million). In a study conducted in the same year, these same customers accounted for about half of the overall three per cent drop in TV viewing among US audiences.

These statistics alone don’t scream doom and gloom for television, but they do give some merit to the prediction that, by 2016, Netflix will attain a larger 24-hour audience than each of the major broadcast networks in the US — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — if it were a Nielsen-rated TV network.

So why is Netflix slowly winning?

Instant gratification: you don’t have to wait a week to watch an episode peppered with ads — much to the chagrin of advertisers!

There is no such thing as primetime: Netflix doesn’t have to battle it out with the major networks for ratings — it doesn’t care what its competitors are doing on any given night!

Matching (and sometimes exceeding) network TV’s quality: if you’ve been keeping abreast of the Emmys over the last three years, you’ll know Netflix is measuring up against the best any network has to offer.

So while Netflix is offering viewers a lot more by way of choice, it’s also giving television networks a lot more to worry about — it’s just a question of time. Definitely worth watching this space… or your screen.

In the meantime, tune in to our next Netflix-related blog entry where we’ll look at the impact the streaming service is having on brand communication and campaign development, beyond traditional advertising.