We already knew a lot of people still watch Netflix streaming, but the latest Nielsen research finds that they watch it a lot more than other, freer sites. Compared to the disgustingly glutinous 130 hours per month of traditional, in-front-of-the-couch viewing, Netflix only nabs 10 hours per viewer over the same period. But when looking at other web sources, Netflix nabs nearly five times more hours of viewing time than Internet competitors. The chart below, via Nielsen, sums up the distribution of TV watching across the Internet. Though YouTube has the most unique viewers, that includes masochistic viewings of Rebecca Black, and not as many real TV shows and movies. On the other side, we have hours spent on each site, with Netflix winning, by a lot. YouTube is generally reserved for two minute viral vids, so its very high unique viewers translates to not too many hours spent on the site.
But the other sites, which offer streaming TV shows and movies just like Netflix, don't have that excuse -- especially ones like MegaVideo and Hulu, which offer free content. One would think those sites would draw bigger crowds, than a paid streaming service with an incomplete library.
But there's something comforting about watching a show on the paid-for streaming TV service. It provides a sort of technical security that Megavideo doesn't. Like, when we switch over to Megavideo for our O.C. marathons, the pop-ups and flashing links make us feel like we're performing an illicit task that's most definitely infecting our computers. And then there's the 72 hour viewing cap for those who don't subscribe. YouTube does have some shows and movies, but the video quality doesn't match Netflix's and often one episode of America's Next Top Model is broken into multiple parts. Netflix is safe. It works all the time, every time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.