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Netflix Subs Streamed 1 Billion Hours of Content in June

3 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming tally ranks Netflix among most viewed cable and broadcast networks

Netflix subscribers in June for the first time streamed more than 1 billion hours of content, according to CEO Reed Hastings, who posted the milestone July 3 on his Facebook page.

“Congrats to Ted Sarandos and his amazing content licensing team,” Hastings wrote. “When ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Arrested Development’ debut [in 2013], we'll blow these records away. Keep going, Ted, we need even more!”

The tally is significant as it ranks the Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming rental pioneer among the top 10 watched cable and broadcast networks in a month. Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York, said the 1 billion figure translates to about 80 minutes of content streamed per day — or 40 hours per sub per month.

The data also underscores Netflix’s focus on streaming over disc rental.

In an April 25, 2011, first-quarter fiscal call, Hastings was asked about a probable 3 billion rental disc milestone announcement as Netflix had done for 1 billion discs rented in 2007 and 2 billion in 2009. The CEO dismissed the question.

“Our focus is really on streaming at this point,” Hastings said. “So I don't anticipate that we would have or will make those kind of announcements.”
Netflix isn’t so humble regarding SVOD. In January it touted 2 billion hours of content viewed in the fourth quarter of 2011. That figure made Netflix at the time the 15th most-watched network (including broadcast and cable) for the month of October 2011.

Greenfield said the July 3 data is “big increase” from 64 minutes streamed daily last December in Q4.

“Netflix would have been the seventh most-watched network inclusive of broadcast and cable networks (up from 15th in Q4 2011),” Greenfield wrote in a blog. “It also would have been No. 2 among cable networks, slightly larger than ESPN and just below Disney Channel.”

The analyst believes Netflix subs streamed 65 minutes to 70 minutes each day in the first quarter, ended March 31.

“While fear is clearly growing that Netflix will fail to live up to its 7 million streaming sub net add guidance for 2012, we are curious to hear management comments on churn, as we would presume that churn should be falling as streaming/sub/day increases with management expecting the time spent watching to grow meaningfully higher as original programming launches in early 2013,” Greenfield wrote.

Netflix reports second-quarter results July 24.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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