Ever since home Internet speeds have gotten fast enough to stream high definition video, more and more people are doing away with traditional broadcast television for online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. These people are called "cord cutters" and they don't want to deal with complicated and expensive cable packages or middle-of-the-road offerings from broadcasters, such as NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.
To keep people subscribed to their services, Netflix and Amazon Prime are offering more and more original programming and exclusive content that you can't watch anywhere else. The downside is no one really knows how popular these new and original TV shows are because Netflix doesn't disclose their ratings. However, NBC just might have found away to gauge viewership numbers of the country's top online streaming services.
Alan Wurtzel, NBC President of Research & Development, revealed new data from Symphony Advanced Media's report of viewership from Netflix and Amazon Prime's top TV shows, as reported by Deadline. The data collection company sampled 15,000 adults from ages 18 to 49 and kept track of their per episode viewership over a 35-day period between September and December 2015. Here's what they discovered:
"On Netflix, Marvel’s Jessica Jones drew 4.8M, Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None pulled in 3.9M, Narcos nabbed 3.2M; while Amazon’s Man In The High Castle clocked 2.1M and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black earned 644K."
Not only did Symphony Advanced Media track viewership for NBC, they also looked at the first week of primetime numbers for new and returning seasons of television. NBC and Symphony Advanced Media then compared these probable streaming numbers to broadcast and cable primetime numbers. “Everyone goes back to watching (broadcast) TV like God intended,” Wurtzel added.
"In its first week of primetime, the third season of Orange Is The New Black drew 23% of all viewers starting on June 11, while 77% of TV viewers watched other broadcast or cable shows. By the fifth week on Netflix, only 3% of all viewers were watching the Jenji Kohan series... Ansari, a former vet of NBC’s Parks And Recreation, his show drew 11% of all viewers in its first premiere week and by week 2, only 8% of all TV viewers were tuning in. Narcos posted 17% in its first week on August 28 and then 4% in week 2. Other illuminating broadcast vs. Netflix stats showed that during primetime, only 20% of the 18-34 demo tuned into Netflix, versus 46% who prefer broadcast TV."
So what does this mean? Wurtzel is simply stating that more people prefer watching traditional broadcast TV to streaming content online. More importantly, Netflix hasn't replaced broadcasters like NBC. “Compare these programs to shows like The Big Bang Theory (about 19M), Empire (about 17M) or Blindspot (about 12M), and they pale in comparison. It’s not that people aren’t watching, but they (streaming) aren’t replacing broadcast,” assessed Wurtzel.
You should also take these viewership numbers with a grain of salt because it's coming directly from NBC instead of Netflix or Amazon Prime, who both have a different business model than broadcast television. Netflix and Amazon are in the subscription business, so it really doesn't matter to them if you watch or don't watch the new season of Jessica Jones or Daredevil. All they care about is whether or not you stay a loyal subscriber and pay their monthly fees. Wurtzel even noted as much, saying:
“That Netflix has a different business model. Their model is for you to write a check once a month. Some shows have a narrow audience, but they don’t care as long as there is enough people coming back next month.”