CBS chief research officer David Poltrack is not impressed with Netflix. At the UBS Global Media Conference in New York on Monday, Poltrack commended Netflix for striking gold with Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, but noted that the streaming service is not as good at picking hits as traditional television executives are (OH REALLY?). That assumption is based on the fact that — besides Orange and House, which were launched two years ago — Netflix hasn’t had another big hit yet.
That may be true. However, Netflix hasn’t done a full-scale launch of a new series since Orange. They’ve released Bojack Horseman (a modest success) and the final season of The Killing, but they are pinning most of their hopes on series they are releasing beginning this weekend (Marco Polo) and into next year (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodline, and Daredevil). Two big hits on a network that just started rolling out original content a couple of years ago seems like a success to me, and they are well on their way to their goal of releasing a new season of television every two and a half weeks (or 20 times a year). As Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos predicted, Netflix will “eventually be the largest producer of original content in the world.”
I don’t doubt it.
What’s most interesting about Poltrack’s statements, however, isn’t his dig at Netflix, but his findings with regard to the viewing habits of Netflix subscribers. He found that Netfix subscribers are spending about 1.1 billion hours a year watching the service’s five original programs. Compare that to the 800 million hours they spend watching NCIS reruns on Netflix. In fact, according to Poltrack, Netflix subscribers only spent 6.6 percent of their time watching Netflix originals.
What were the two most popular shows on Netflix? NBC’s The Blacklist and ABC’s Once Upon A Time, which combined to amount to 7% of Netflix’s viewership. In other words, subscribers watch more of The Blacklist and Once Upon a Time than they do all of Netflix’s original content.
Huh. I wouldn’t have guessed that.