Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Survey Says: More Good News for Reed Hastings

Investors are back in love with Netflix. And Web video watchers seem like they’ve warmed up again, as well.

Or at least they say they have. Check out the results of a recent survey of U.S. Web users, conducted by Goldman Sachs. And notice the Netflix bump across all ages — but particularly with teens and twentysomethings:

goldman netflix

Goldman doesn’t attempt to explain why people like Netflix so much more now than they did a year ago (the survey was conducted in mid-January, before the deluge of press for “House of Cards,” so it’s unlikely that Kevin Spacey is the cause). But the numbers do give some credence to Reed Hastings’s contention that old and new customers are beginning to forgive the service for its multiple mistakes in 2011. Then again, the blowout numbers in Netflix’s last earnings report suggested the same thing.

It’s crucial to note that this is a self-reported survey, so users’ actual behavior may be quite different from what they’ll admit to Goldman or themselves.

For instance, I’m sure that YouTube occupies a lot more viewing time than people suspect, or are willing to admit. Similarly, the Goldman report suggests that YouTube and Hulu are in the same league when it comes to viewing time, and that’s certainly not the case.

That said, I would love to know why people are reporting significant drops in iTunes engagement — particularly since iTunes has always had a fairly modest video component.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work