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One likely reason: the Polar Vortex
Netflix has been steadily growing its subscriber base, which is obviously vitally important to the company’s future as the destination for Internet TV. But equally important is whether those subs actually like what they see. If subscribers watch more content, it gives Netflix a leg-up in securing great deals on original programming.
And it looks like that’s the case. Netflix’s Head of Product, Neil Hunt, has revealed that Netflix streamed 6.5 billion hours globally in the first quarter of 2014. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield estimates that that translates to an average of 103 minutes streamed daily by individual domestic subscribers—which would be an increase of 18% year-over-year. In April 2013, BTIG analysts estimated that domestic viewing had reached 87 minutes per day.
One possible reason for the growth: the Polar Vortex.
“Streaming hours per subscriber per day notably accelerated throughout Q1, as we calculated that in January 2014, Netflix domestic subs were streaming an average of 97 mins per day,” wrote Greenfield in a blog post. “We suspect the acceleration within the quarter corresponds to the return of House of Cards and the surprisingly tough winter weather.”
That was indeed a tough winter for a lot of people. And it also happened to be a super amazing season of House of Cards (I think the relationship between Frank and Claire has given me a better understanding of the relationship between Bill and Hillary. I’m not saying Bill and Hillary are sociopaths; I’m just saying: I think I get it now.).
In aggregate, BTIG estimates that 5.5 billion of those 6.5 billion streamed hours came from domestic subscribers. But international streaming seems to have grown quite a bit in the last quarter as well. BTIG analysts estimate that international subscribers are now streaming 66 minutes per subscriber per day, which is up 32% year-over-year from the 50 minutes they were believed to be streaming last year.
Some 75% of Netflix’s streaming subscribers are domestic, totaling 34.55 million. Netflix now accounts for the highest consumption of bandwidth in the U.S., outpacing all of its streaming video-on-demand competitors. Bandwidth consumption as a whole increased 15% in the U.S. between 2013 and 2014.
Back in February, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings revealed that streaming hours had exceeded two billion for the month of January alone, which was double that of June 2012, when subscribers streamed one billion hours.
With domestic subs now streaming 103 minutes per day, that adds up to 1.8 billion hours per month total, which would likely put Netflix in the top five most watched cable networks, alongside Fox and Disney Channel.
Image source: businessinsider.com
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