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Netflix Users Streamed Over 2 Billion Hours Of Content In 4th Quarter 2011; How Will You Watch In 2012?

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 4, 2012 11:19 AM
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"Streaming has been a rocket ship for us... The amount of streaming is just going through the roof... With more U.S. members watching instantly, and aided by global expansion, Netflix streaming hours grew dramatically in 2011..."

Words from Netflix brass to the press earlier today, adding that its subscribers watched more than 2 billion hours of streaming TV shows and movies in the fourth quarter of 2011.

According to a Deloitte study (courtesy of THR), 14 percent of Americans now say that their favorite way to watch a movie at home is to stream it over the Internet via a subscription service - up from just 4 percent two years earlier.

Count me in that group; Ias I've been saying probably since this website was created in April 2009, I've long been a champion of on-demand streaming movies/tv shows available to the average viewer in the comfort of their homes. It's the future; or should I say, the future is now. And as the quality of the digital files increases (many films are available for streaming in HD quality right now), and the number and variety of films grows, I expect the above numbers to swell significantly.

Netflix goofed late last year when it split its DVD and streaming services up, emphasizing the latter over the former. I didn't think it was bad move, just a move made too quickly and suddenly, and clearly wasn't well thought through. But given that the disc as we know is, I believe, doomed to eventually become a relic, much like CDs have been gradually replaced by high quality MP3 files and players, and, as we've seen in recent years, brick and mortar music sales business have been forced to shut down, and/or take their services to the web.

As already well-documented, the theatrical movie business has taking a bit of a hit in recent years, as have DVD sales/rentals (once a cash-cow for studios); And with studios increasingly testing simultaneous muti-platforms releases (theatrical, digital download, streaming, etc), and as I've seen in some cases, releasing films on VOD before their theatrical releases as more audiences flock to the web to get their content, it's obvious that there's a definitive attempt to figure out how to reverse current trends, which is partly why we're getting so many of these freaking 3D movies; though, as I've read, audiences aren't entirely gullible.

Every year since S&A began, as the website's audience has grown, I've taken a poll, asking how all of you watch movies and TV shows these days; and I'd like to pose that question to our 2012 readers.

First, if you were to create a pie chart with percentages, how would you say you divide your movie watching time among the various available popular means of exhibition: 1.) in a theater; 2.) on DVD/Blu-ray; 3.) streaming or digital download via iTunes/Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Crackle/etc; 4.) on TV (whether cable or network); 5.) illegal download via torrent, or other means; and finally 6.) something else not mentioned (and whatever that is, list it).

Second, the same question for TV watching: 1.) live when it airs on TV; 2.) watch recording of it later (not live; like if you DVR it); 3.) streaming or digital download; 4.) illegal download; 5.) other.

Depending on the number of responses this post gets, I might compile the results and post in a week or so.

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  • Paul van Emmerik | January 4, 2012 3:11 PMReply

    1.) in a theater 5%
    2.) on DVD/Blu-ray 70%
    3.) streaming or digital download viaNetflix 20 %
    4.) on TV (network - dtv from antenna); 5%
    1.) live when it airs on TV; 100%

  • al | January 4, 2012 12:34 PMReply

    10% theater, 10% DVD, 60% streaming, 20% TV/Cable. My 2 cents...if you enjoy movies you MUST get a Roku or similiar streaming device. It will change the way you search for content and watch movies. The possibilities, variety is almost endless.

  • Duncan Manutz | January 4, 2012 12:31 PMReply

    0% = Theater
    0% = On Demand Cable
    90% = Streaming via, Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Crackle/Vudo/XBOX Live/PS3/Youtube
    5% = DVD/Blu-ray
    5% = Over the Air
    0% = Illegal download

  • SayNay | January 4, 2012 11:52 AMReply

    This last year for me and likely going forward
    20% - Theater, 70% - Streaming, 10% - TV/Cable

    TV Shows
    90% - Streaming, 10% - Watch live

    These days I only go to the theater for a festival or to support an indie. I'd rather sit in the comfort of my own home without all the off-screen drama. With TV, I stream more for the convenience of less commercials.

  • Tamara | January 4, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    5% theater
    80% dvd/blu-ray
    0% streaming/digital download
    15% cable/network/on-demand
    0% illegal download

    10% live
    10% recording/on-demand
    75% dvd/blu-ray
    5% streaming/digital download
    0% illegal download

    ***I think once I purchase a larger television worthy of what HD and Blu-Ray bring to the 'visual' game, then my streaming of movie/television consumption will increase. I'm ridiculously slow with technology (a tortoise to everyone else's hare) .

  • Doc Oc | January 4, 2012 11:35 AMReply

    50% - Theater
    20% - On Demand Cable
    20% - Streaming
    10% - DVD/Blu-ray

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