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TV shows account for over half of Netflix streams

The company's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, says that at any given time 50 percent, and sometimes up to 60 percent, of all streams are TV episodes.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

At any given time, the majority of Netflix users are watching television shows, rather than movies, a company executive has revealed.

Speaking yesterday at the Mipcom conference in Cannes, France, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that "50 percent, and sometimes, 60 percent, of viewing (on Netflix) is TV episodes now," according to PaidContent, which was at the event,

Sarandos was quick to add that those statistics won't stop his company from focusing on bringing more movies to the streaming service. He reportedly said during his keynote address that the stats "can be misperceived as Netflix giving up on movies, which it's not. It's just consumers saying what they want."

That said, a Sarandos' colleague, Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells, said last month at a Goldman Sachs conference that television content will soon play a more important role in the company's streaming library than feature-length films, adding that Netflix could be the solution for the "tons of orphan shows that never got a chance to find an audience while they were on on the air."

Related stories:
Netflix to focus on acquiring TV content
Starz halts licensing talks with Netflix
Netflix inks two-year deal with Discovery

As of late, Netflix has inked several key deals with television networks, including an agreement with Discovery Communications to feature shows from the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and others in its library. Earlier this year, Netflix also secured the rights to stream the wildly popular AMC show "Mad Men."

Although Netflix's desire to add television content might be a response to user interests, it might also have something to do with the trouble it's facing acquiring movie content. Last month, for example, Starz, which owns the Internet rights to films from Disney and Sony Pictures, said that it had ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix, and would take its content down from the streaming service on February 28 when the parties' current contract expires.

"This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content," Starz said at the time.

For its part, Netflix said that it was displeased that Starz was taking its content off the service, but thanked the company for the early notice so it can "license other content before Starz expires."

But content is just one of Netflix's problems right now. In addition to worrying about acquiring more streaming video, the company is also planning to spin off its DVD-by-mail business and call it Qwikster. When that service launches, users will be able to rent movies, television shows, and video games.