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Netflix streaming tops 1 billion hours in month for first time

Netflix's digital streaming service hit a major milestone last month: more than 1 billion hours viewed in a month.

At this time last year, Netflix was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A lot of investors and customers became scared that the online rental giant was falling apart just as things were getting good, but it was very arguable that much of the criticism was unneccesary fear.

In fact, Netflix has reached a new milestone as the Watch Instantly digital streaming service saw more than 1 billion hours streamed last month.

CEO Reed Hastings announced the good news via the following message posted to his Facebook page this week:

Congrats to Ted Sarandos, and his amazing content licensing team. Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June. When House of Cards and Arrested Development debut, we'll blow these records away. Keep going, Ted, we need even more!

There are a number of factors that have contributed to Netflix's latest achievement. Certainly the international expansion across Latin America as well as a foot in the door in Europe with a launch in the United Kingdom have helped.

Furthermore, the $7.99 monthly plan is continually more appealing to younger consumers who don't want to shell out anywhere between $50 to $100 each month for cable when they can access plenty of on-demand TV shows and movies on nearly every electronic device they own from gaming consoles to smartphones.

(And even though it applied to DVDs, it also doesn't hurt that Qwikster was squashed before it could happen.)

Nevertheless, this also proves how necessary it is for Netflix (and its competitors) to continue ramping up the amount of content available for instant digital streaming.

With these kinds of solid figures being tossed around and bragged about, it also has the potential to give Hollywood studios more leverage in signing away the rights to content knowing just how many people are turning toward the online, on-demand medium. This is where the market is going, much to the chagrin of traditional cable providers.

(Via ReadWriteWeb)

This story originally appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines.