Netflix Subscribers Watch 11% Fewer Minutes Of Television Per Day Than Non-Subscribers

Categories: TV Ratings Reference

Written By

November 15th, 2012

In its latest Cross-Platform Report Nielsen notes that overall TV viewing declined slightly between Q2 2011 and Q2 2012 from 4;43 per day (4:23 Live, 0:20 DVR playback) to 4:40 (4:18 Live, 0:22 DVR). Interesting to see that's still above the 4:35 for Q2 2008. Broadcast TV ratings continue to get crushed, but overall TV viewing is relatively flat.


Digging a but further into the report, Multichannel News reports that Netflix subscribers watch 11% fewer minutes of television per day than non-subscribers. 

  • Jim

    There is no way those DVR numbers are accurate unless the bulk of research comes from their silly handwritten diaries who are likely completed mostly by older viewers.

  • SMP Belltown

    It was a different era, of course – But out of curiosity, does anyone remember what the “VCR penetration” number was at its zenith? I’m tempted to say it was in the mid-80s range, but I could be seriously mistaken.

  • rehabber

    Only 3 shows I watch live, Supernatural, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and even then it is being put on the DVR to watch again later. I even DVR news. I have a Dish Network Hopper that records the 4 networks in Prime Time to watch the next day WITHOUT commercials, plus I can add 2 more to it.

  • eridapo

    @ Temis

    I hate to break it to you, but the problem in the polling of the election was due to turn out models (or sample of the population) not being representative of the election day electorate. Rasmussen and Gallup polls prior to election day showed an election where likely voters self identified as democrats would outnumber self identified republicans by +1 margin. Romney’s models and internal polls mirrored those of Rasmussen and Gallup because they assumed the turn out model for the election would be similar to the most recent congressional election of 2010 in which the Demo to Rep advantage was +1.

    The actual voters on election day, however, mirrored the turn out model of the last presidential election (2008) where the democratic advantage was +6. The larger democratic turn out gave Obama the edge in a close election where the difference in the popular vote was 2%. Even within the swing states the margin of victory for Obama was less than 3%.

    Nate Silver was no more accurate than the Real Clear Politics average of Polls. Silver simply guess that the electorate would be similar to 2008 while Republicans saw an electorate similar to 2010.

    The lesson of the election is that what matters in polling is how well does your polling sample reflect the actual population.

    Gallup and Rasmussen went by historical norms for presidential elections. They saw 2008 as an aberration and build their models on the most recent election, the 2010 congressional election. Based on that model, they assumed a turn out for Blacks of 12% (they were 15% of the 2012 electorate), Hispanics 8% (they were 10%), and young people 16% (they were 19%).

    Nielsen, like any poll worth their soul, is only as accurate as how well it mirrors the population it is trying to measure. Statisticians who question the validity of the Nielsen rating often ask “Are the Nielsen families actually representative of the television watching population as a whole?”.

    If we go by metrics…. Hispanics per the last US census represent 16% of the US population. The question for Nielsen is: are 16% of the Nielsen families Hispanic? Given that there about 25,000 Nielsen families, 4000 of those families would have to be of Hispanic origin to be a representative sample of the population. If they’re not, Nielsen in not actually representative of the tv viewing population. Nets like Univision and Telemundo would be under counted in the Nielsen ratings. Another argument often use against Nielsen is the distribution of Nielsen families by Geography. Are the Nielsen families evenly distributed between rural versus urban populations, suburbs versus cities, east coast versus west coast, Midwest versus south…

  • JustTunedIn

    What I think is one of the bigger effects of Nielsen numbers is that the person KNOWS that they’re being monitored. People behave differently when watched than when not watched. If I knew my tv watching habits actually mattered, I would make an effort to watch live more. But I know they don’t, so I watch in whatever way is convenient for me.

    I do think 4 hours a day of tv on AVERAGE is a lot though. If you get home from work around 6, have dinner (say an hour), then you would have to be watching live tv from 7 – 11 on average every day. Certainly the weekend would provide more live tv availability than weekdays so the bulk of the watching might come then.

    For people like me who watches maybe 5 hours of live tv per week (and maybe 10 hours online when the networks post them the next day or so), there has to be someone out there watching an EXTRA 23 hours per week/~3 extra hours per day of live tv to accomodate for me and keep the average the same. That is starting to sound like a lot.

  • cas127

    “everyone I know votes Republican!”

    Yep, thank goodness for those handful of MSAs (Philadelphia, Miami, LA) where Dems “get” 70-85% of the “vote” including dozens of precincts where not a single Republican vote is cast – not even by mistake (see FL 2000).

    Yep, nothing to see here.

    After all the MSM says move along. Nate Silver won’t be running any statistical probabilities of receiving zero votes in dozens of precincts.

    Speaking of “representative”…

  • Carl

    Can we please not have a political discussion here? I specifically avoid the cable news ratings post for just that reason.

  • eridapo

    Interesting article on technology’s impact on tv viewing

    Here are some quotes… Click on the link to read the whole article

    Technology has been kind to viewers. But it also is hastening the end of the kind of mass-audience, gather-round-the-tube appointment TV that networks have counted on and Americans have scheduled their lives around for more than half a century.

    This fall, 38% of young-adult prime-time viewing on the major networks (and 23% of all viewing) consists of previously recorded shows, Nielsen says. That’s up from nearly zero a decade ago. “This year has really sort of been the tipping point that we’ve been expecting,” says Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS Corp., which owns CBS, Showtime and half of CW. Increasingly, “overnight ratings don’t mean anything.”

    One cause for alarm is that overall TV usage by young adults ages 18 to 24 is down 9% since this time last year, more than any other age bracket. That group is most likely to watch elsewhere, a habit fueled by TV studios’ sales of their content to online destinations.

    “The more you live your life online, the more you have an on-demand expectation” to watch what you want when and where you choose.

    “The network challenge is, how do you value and monetize the network (programming) off the network, which sounds crazy, but it’s what everyone’s facing,” says Mark Ghuneim, president of Trendrr, a social-media tracker.

    Many, in what’s perhaps wishful thinking, view DVRs as a transitional technology that will eventually give way to video-on-demand services offered through cable and satellite providers. Like streaming, on-demand viewing doesn’t require viewers to plan ahead and choose shows to record. But it also prevents them from skipping commercials, beefing up Nielsen ratings.

    For that reason, Nathanson says, programmers would be better off if on-demand activity eclipsed DVRs, and if a slow-starting initiative dubbed TV Everywhere — in which cable systems stream shows to their customers on other devices — proved more popular than Netflix. “But the genie is not going back in the bottle.”

  • Tricia

    As a person who watches everything on DVR except the occassional live sport, I am amazed at just how many people still watch live TV. I really thought the DVR had changed people’s TV viewing habits more than it has. Guess our family is in the minority on this one. But then again, we purchased a Tivo the first year it came out.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures