Hulu Primarily TV Destination, Netflix Draws Movie Lovers

by , Jul 27, 2011, 5:24 PM
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As Hulu and Netflix continue to square off, it's important to note key behavioral differences between their respective audiences.

According to new research from Nielsen, the vast majority of Hulu viewers get their video fixes via computer, while far less Netflix users rely on their "small screens."

Specifically, 89% of Hulu users consume its content directly on a computer, while 42% of Netflix users report watching shows and movies on their computers.

Hulu and Netflix users also trend toward different content types, according to Nielsen. Nearly three-fourths -- 73% -- of Hulu users primarily view TV shows, compared to just 11% of Netflix users.

On the flip side, more than half -- 53% -- of Netflix users primarily watch movies, while a mere 9% of Hulu users say the same.

While "Netflix and Hulu have both attracted reams of followers ... these results underscore the different strengths of the brands based on their content offerings," Jo Holz, senior vice president of Client Research Initiatives at Nielsen, said via email. "While Netflix has a large library of movies, Hulu established itself and remains primarily a TV destination."

Hulu recently went on the block, but despite their complementary usage segments, Netflix is reportedly not in the running to acquire the company. Also of note, twice as many Netflix users as Hulu users watch both movies and TV shows equally.

Overall, about 15% of Hulu users -- and 14% of Netflix users -- report that they stream by connecting their computer to the TV.

Other over-the-top Internet-enabled devices, such as Roku Box, Google TV and Apple TV, were also cited as a means for connecting with Hulu and Netflix. As such, respondents were able to select more than one viewing method to best reflect their viewing habits.

For its research, Nielsen completed more than 12,000 online interviews in March 2011, focusing on usage and attitudes for over-the-top video, particularly Netflix and Hulu.

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