Netflix subscribers still watching just as much boob tube

As the streaming-video site ramps up more original series, a study by TiVo's research arm finds no significant difference in the amount of TV watched by people who subscribe to Netflix and those who don't.

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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

Netflix has big aspirations for its original television series, but a study Monday said that so far, the company's new content isn't making a big difference in how much television people watch on the 28 most-watched networks.

Looking at traditional TV tuning behaviors of self-identified Netflix subscribers, TiVo Research and Analytics found that the amount of viewing was basically the same as non-Netflix households. The survey took place in May, after Netflix's first major original series -- "House of Cards -- had been out for months. Its gothic horror followup "Hemlock Grove" had debuted the month before, but the survey took place largely before "Arrested Development" aired. The revival of the Fox comedy debuted May 26.

"Our data show that Netflix is not currently a substitute for traditional television, but offers a way for TV lovers to watch more of the kinds of programs they love," said Mark Lieberman, chief of the TiVo research unit.

That should be welcome news to programmers and Netflix alike. The streaming site's push into original content raised concerns about competing against the content creators it relies on for the bulk of its library. But at this early stage, and while attempts at original content are still nascent from the likes of Amazon and Hulu, it seems as though traditional TV has little to fear about its audience evacuating online en masse.

Of the nearly 10,000 TiVo subscribers surveyed, 57 percent said they subscribe to Netflix. Half said they also subscribe to Amazon Prime, which is in the process of rolling out original series for its Instant Video service.

Netflix has been modeling its originals strategy after the likes of HBO, so it isn't surprising households that subscribe are heavier viewers of premium dramas in the vein of "House of Cards." Tivo's survey found viewers of that show watched 85 percent more HBO and were more than double as likely to watch Showtime's "Homeland," last year's winner of the outstanding drama series Emmy.

(Via Deadline New York)