Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Your Poor Couch! Netflix Viewers Don’t Cut Back on Regular TV.

brahAre you watching a ton of Netflix?

Then you had better make sure you’re getting fresh air and exercise. Because you’re probably not cutting back on your regular TV habit.

That’s according to a new study from TiVo’s research unit, which says that Netflix subscribers are still watching as much TV as people who don’t have the streaming video service.

In other words: Netflix subscribers watch a ton of TV, just like everyone else in America. And then they watch Netflix, too.

It’s possible that the TiVo study is skewed a bit toward TV power-watchers, since it is tracking people who use the DVR to begin with. But it does back up Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’s argument, which he makes all the time: Netflix isn’t a substitute for TV, but rather an additional TV channel, like HBO.

Hastings also argues that, even though he likes to see himself as an HBO, he’s not really competing with HBO, because lots of Netflix viewers watch HBO, too.

And TiVo’s data supports that pitch, as well — it says that people who say they watched Netflix’s HBO-like “House of Cards” series watch a lot of HBO and other premium channels:

  • Households that reported viewing “House of Cards” watched 85 percent more HBO than non-Netflix households.
  • “House of Cards” households watched Showtime’s “Homeland” 125 percent more than those that don’t use Netflix.
  • Netflix households viewed Showtime’s “Homeland” 26 percent more than those that don’t use Netflix.

At some point, of course, Hastings (and lots of other people) figure that Netflix (and other alternate video sources, like YouTube) will eventually replace conventional TV time. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen data that shows that the more video we can get, the more video we watch, and that the TV isn’t going anywhere soon.

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