Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

If You’re Paying to Watch Web Video, You’re Watching Netflix

If you’re watching video on the Internet, the odds are very, very good that you’re doing it on YouTube. And failing that, on Facebook.

But if you’re paying to watch video on the Web, then the odds change: You’re very, very likely to be watching Netflix.

This news comes to us from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney, who polled Web users last week and came up with this breakdown of Web video usage. It’s not a shocking result, but it is instructive to see it spelled out. It’s also useful to see just how far Apple and Amazon lag behind in this race (Hulu is close to Netflix here, but most of its visits come from free users, not paid Hulu Plus subscribers):

As Mahaney notes, these numbers also point out just how much potential YouTube has if it ever gets serious about pay-to-play video. But he doesn’t think Google has the skills or will to do that.

Mahaney is also a bit puzzled to see how prominently Facebook figures in his survey — “What is also interesting/surprising is the significant presence of Facebook as a video watching site” — but he shouldn’t be. Third-party surveys have already pegged
Facebook as one of the top video sites on the Web, and plenty of media companies are getting their heads around the idea, too.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik