Netflix 'Most Watched' Cable Network In Viewing Time Per Day

House-of-Cards-A1By one measure, Netflix could equate to being the biggest U.S. cable TV network -- in terms of viewing time per day, per its subscriber universe.

Following up on his July 2012 estimate, Richard Greenfield, media analyst for BTIG Research, says the subscription video-on-demand service in the first quarter of this year has streamed some 87 minutes of video per subscriber per day. This is up from 79 minutes of streaming video per subscriber per day in June of 2012.

"Netflix is now likely the most-watched cable network," he says -- similar to viewing levels of the Disney Channel. Netflix's streaming only goes into 28.1 million homes in the U.S. -- far less than 100 million or so homes for the Disney Channel and many other veteran networks, including ESPN, USA Network, TNT, and TBS.



Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, has said in his blog that Netflix has exceeded 4 billion hours of streaming video content in the first quarter of 2013. 

Netflix has not revealed details concerning specific viewing of individual pieces of TV content or movies. Much has been made from TV analysts in figuring out the viewing performance of Netflix first original TV drama, "House of Cards," among Netflix subscribers.

How did Greenfield arrive at his conclusion? He assumes that 88% of the streaming was with U.S. subscribers. That comes to 1.2 billion hours in the quarter -- and it means 73 billion domestic minutes per month. Looking at 28.1 million expected Netflix subscribers for this quarter, you get 2,600 minutes per subscriber per month -- or 87 minutes per day.

Leaving the cable network comparisons aside, this is good news for Netflix, Greenfield says. Comparable streaming/subscriber/day hours are increasing for Netflix -- 79 minutes in June 2012 and 64 minutes in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Greenfield's conclusion: "We presume churn is continuing to fall -- implying that the price/value of a Netflix subscription is increasing."

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