Users of Netflix, Other Subscription Video Services Prefer TV Shows to Movies by a Four-to-One Margin

  Users of Netflix, Other Subscription Video Services Prefer TV Shows to
  Movies by a Four-to-One Margin

 New GfK report provides rare insights into levels of use – showing that few
                       programs attract large audiences

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- July 18, 2013

Subscribers to major subscription video services watch four times as many TV
shows as movies – and they are just as likely to gravitate to old “Star Trek”
episodes as something from the past year.

These are among the findings of a new GfK report that defines the actual
viewing habits and preferences of subscribers to Netflix Watch Instantly,
Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Hulu Plus. Over 500 subscribers to one or more
of these services agreed to recount their use of streaming video once a day
for seven days.

About 81% of some 2,300 viewing segments mentioned were for TV shows, compared
to 19% for movies. While Hulu Plus viewers watched TV shows almost exclusively
(96% of their segments), Netflix users preferred TV shows by a three-to-one
margin (77% versus 23%), and Amazon Prime by about four to one (79% vs. 21%).

In terms of total viewing time, TV dominated movies by a factor of two to one.
Even though the average time for each movie was much greater, this was more
than offset by the much higher number of programs viewed.

Among the specific TV shows cited as having been watched, there was very
little overlap; only a few received more than a handful of mentions, and four
of the top seven programs have been cancelled for at least three years. The
combined “Star Trek” TV series catalog got the most mentions, at 4% of all
segments; after that, only “Breaking Bad” and “”Mad Men” rose to the 3% level
– with all other programs at 2% or below.

The 10 most-watched movies were mainly drawn from the past one to two years,
but featured a quirky array of titles – from “Mission: Impossible” movies to
“A Dark Truth” to “Thor.” Of the top 10, only “The Hunger Games” (at 7%) broke
the 2% level.

“Though subscription streaming is now recognized as a major factor in video
use, there has been scant information about content watched, circumstances of
viewing, and other key variables,” said David Tice, Senior Vice President of
GfK’s Media and Entertainment team. “We see that, contrary to broadcast TV’s
‘mass’ audience model, streaming services generate episodic, niche viewing --
more broad and unpredictable than even the 200 channels on your cable TV menu.
These services provide the control and multiplicity of choice that consumers
crave, and the result is very individual behavior.”

The new report also shows that

  *about half of the streaming segments were watched on a TV set connected to
    the Internet – through a game console, Blu-ray player, streaming box, or a
    built-in connection
  *streaming services do not seem to be eroding cable or satellite TV
    subscriptions – but they may be eating into viewing time and thus ad
  *almost three quarters of streaming viewing segments are accompanied by
    some other activity – eating, talking, or using another digital device

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with around 13,000
experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and
shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using
the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the
clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their
customers. In 2012, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.51 billion.

To find out more, visit or follow GfK on Twitter:


David Stanton, 908-875-9844
Vice President,
GfK Marketing and Communications, Consumer Experiences North America
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