Netflix subscribers watch about 38 hours a month of streaming content, according to me. That’s not the official statistic. I took the number of hours that were streamed on Netflix last month (1 billion) and divided it by the number of existing subscribers (26 million) and that came out to around 38 hours a month.
However, that doesn’t account for people like myself who have been paying for, but not watching Netflix for months. Unofficially, that’s gotta be roughly half the subscriber base, right? So, that means the other half is watching around 76 hours of television a month. That’s a lot of Breaking Bad.
According to the Wall Street Journal, over 60 percent of that time is devoted to television (as opposed to the 40 percent that is spent watching movies). Why? Because Netflix has a fairly awful movie selection these days, they no longer have their partnership with Starz, they don’t get a lot of new stuff, and often what they do get tends to be low-rent Redbox crap like Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.
Of course, that’s been the plan for a while now: Spin-off the DVD service, scale back spending on the film licensing, pay out the nose for a lot of shows that subscribers marathon, and eventually beef up their own original content. Within a few years, they will become their own online network. I find that annoying only because we have enough networks already, and the competitive advantage that Netflix has now is that it, in effect, can aggregate the best television shows from all the networks into one convenient $8 a month service.
What I am surprised by is that — though they have one original series, Lilyhammer, and another, House of Cards, in the works — they haven’t yet created an original animated series yet. Besides adults marathoning Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men (and the other 15 Best Shows on Netflix), I have to imagine that a huge percentage of that streaming television comes from kids burning through Dinosaur Train episodes on Saturday mornings while their lazy-ass parents sleep in.
FYI: If you aren’t watching it yet, the first three seasons of Breaking Bad are available on Netflix Instant. If you run to Best Buy tonight and buy the fourth season, you can successfully marathon the entire series by the time the fifth season premieres on Sunday night if you start by 11 a.m. tomorrow and give up sleep on Saturday night.