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NPD: Netflix Tops Among Tablet Users

15 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix ranks tops among tablet users, accounting for one-third of total video-viewing time during the month of March, according to The NPD Group.

In a blog post, Linda Barrabee, research director for NPD connected intelligence, said the average tablet user watched 2 1/2 hours of Netflix video per week, with active users engaged with the Netflix app three to four times a week, and spending on average nearly 45 minutes per session.

“And, that was just for the month of March,” Barrabee wrote.

She said February saw a greater spike, which Barrabee attributed to the Feb. 1 bow of original series “House of Cards,” including access to all 13 episodes at launch.

Notably, NPD said Netflix use on smartphones reached 16% (less than 60 minutes weekly) in March, which is significant considering CEO Reed Hastings has long opined about inconsequential SVOD use on mobile phones.

That’s because YouTube and short-form, user-generated video still dominates among smartphone users, accounting for 56% of all viewing time in March. Longer-form video viewing on smartphones will increase as phones feature larger, higher-resolution screens, as found on the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, among others, Barrabee wrote.

Meanwhile, most smartphones utilize wireless networks, and streaming Netflix comprises about 3% of total app data usage (on par with YouTube). NPD said that minimal hit on data usage changes, however, with tablets.

From a bandwidth consumption perspective, Netflix is the most consumptive app used on tablets, comprising nearly 20% of total app data usage (Wi-Fi and cellular). From a wireless carrier perspective, there is little reason to be concerned about the video-burden on tablets, according to NPD.

That’s because about 80% of the 60.8 million tablets installed use Wi-Fi exclusively. Only about 20% of 3G- and 4G-enabled tablets in the market have an active 3G or 4G data plan. Further, the dominant context for tablet video viewing is in-home (83% of tablet owners), so usage is happening where Wi-Fi networks are prevalent and already available, wrote Barrabee.

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