TiVo study finds that Netflix homes watch as much traditional TV as everybody else

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

July 30, 2013

3 Min Read
Netflix Not A Network Killer?

So much for the idea that Netflix is pulling consumers away from the grasp of traditional TV programming.

In a new study released Monday, TiVo Research and Analytics debunks the widely held notion that Netflix is luring TV viewers to the Internet at the expense of the more established broadcast and cable networks. Rather, Netflix users simply appear to be watching more video content overall than their non-Netflix counterparts.

TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA), a wholly owned subsidiary of TiVo Inc., surveyed nearly 10,000 TiVo subscribers in May. The survey found "no significant differences" between the amount of traditional TV programming watched by self-reporting Netflix households and non-Netflix homes. Nor did it find that either group's viewing habits differed significantly from those of the overall TV viewing population.

One strong caveat here is that TiVo subscribers, who tend to be heavy TV users, are not necessarily representative of the entire TV viewer base. So, the survey's results should not necessarily be taken as gospel quite yet.

Still, the results appear to indicate that at least the biggest consumers of network TV fare aren't cutting the proverbial video cord for over-the-top (OTT) video right now. Instead, they are just making greater use of their broadband cords as they watch shows on their TV sets, laptops, tablets, game consoles, etc.

In one notable distinction between the parallel Netflix and non-Netflix universes, Netflix users seem to love their pay TV drama series more than other TV viewers. That seems to be particularly true for fans of "House of Cards," the original Netflix political potboiler that took home multiple Emmy nominations less than two weeks ago.

Indeed, "House of Cards" viewers reported watching 85 percent more HBO programming than non-Netflix households. Similarly, "House of Cards" viewers were much more likely to watch Showtime's "Homeland" series than homes without Netflix.

The study also indicates that TiVo subscribers are bigger OTT video fans than the general TV viewing population. More than half of the survey respondents, or 57 percent, said they subscribe to Netflix, a stunning total for a service that still has less than 25 percent penetration in the U.S.

In addition, nearly one-fifth, or 18 percent, said they had already watched "House of Cards."

Moreover, a full half of those surveyed said they also subscribe to Amazon Prime. Some 18 percent reported that they subscribe to Hulu Plus, Hulu's premium service, and eight percent said they subscribe to all three OTT services at once.

So maybe network programmers need not lose sleep over the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu just yet. Instead, it appears that consumers are the ones losing sleep as they stare bleary-eyed at more screens than ever for longer stretches of time.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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