41% of Netflix Subscribers Use Service Daily

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" is a Netflix original that keeps subscribers coming back to the service on a daily basis.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a Netflix original that keeps subscribers coming back to the service on a daily basis.

There’s a reason Netflix is so popular.

Maybe its the ease of accessing thousands of titles of TV and movies, including its award-winning original programming. The fact there are no commercials probably plays into it as well. One report even suggests the artwork it curates as you swipe through the countless titles plays some kind of weird mind game that lures you into a night of binge-watching.

Whatever it is, you keep coming back, day after day.

According to the latest Cut Cable Today survey, if you’re one of the more than 81.5 million Netflix subscribers, chances are pretty good that you use the streaming service on a daily basis.

We recently surveyed 616 individuals (conducted online independent from CutCableToday) about their streaming habits, 488 of whom identified themselves as current Netflix subscribers. Participants were asked “How often do you use each TV streaming service?” Choices included Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Sling TV, HBO Now, etc. The answer choices for this question were daily, weekly, monthly or never. Of this group of current Netflix subscribers, 41% said they watch Netflix on a daily basis. Here are some other interesting facts we found along the way:

frequency of netflix streaming

If not daily, then weekly: The biggest subset of Netflix subscribers we interviewed said they used the service on a daily basis, but not far behind are the 38% who use the service at least weekly. About 20% said they use the service at least monthly.

streaming frequency

Netflix members are more active than subscribers to other streaming services: While we found that 41% of Netflix subscribers use Netflix daily, our survey also discovered that, by comparison, 31% of Hulu subscribers watch Hulu daily and just 10% of Prime members watch Prime daily.

They also use other streaming services: The fact that 41% of Netflix subscribers use the service daily may not be that surprising. What may be more interesting is the fact that Netflix subscribers also use another streaming service, like Hulu or Amazon Prime, on a daily basis. According to our survey, about 11% of Netflix subscribers said they use Hulu on a daily basis. About 6% watch Amazon Prime on a daily basis (which is odd, being that 20% of Prime subscribers aren’t using its video streaming service).


Why is Netflix So Popular?

The easy answer is that it offers great content that keeps us coming back. What you may not realize is that all of that programming and how it’s displayed is data-driven by our behaviors. Here’s a breakdown on why the streaming service is so popular:



Content is king, no matter the medium. And Netflix has produced some of the best original programming in the industry, amassing Emmy nominations and wins over the past few years for its hits “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Daredevil.”

But last year, we performed a comprehensive analysis that showed Netflix coming in fourth place when it comes to critical ratings of its original programming. It was bested by FX’s, Showtime’s and HBO’s programming. (Of course, those ratings are based on user reviews, which are constantly shifting. Maybe it’s time to update our list.)

Ratings aside, there’s still a lot of buzz around Netflix shows. Part of the reason is that the company has hired some incredible people to pick its winners. Cindy Holland, who overseas the company’s original shows and documentaries is one of those people.

In a recent interview with Fast Company, Holland, who has the power to greenlight new shows, said it comes down to a compelling pitch from storytellers who care about their program.

About halfway through the pitch meeting for “Bojack Horseman,” Holland said the idea was something so different — “something we’ve never experienced before” — that she immediately approved it.

“So many times, that kind of magic happens,” she told the magazine. “And you know pretty quickly that it’s there and really that comes from the spirit and the enthusiasm of the creators themselves.”


Science and Data

It’s also no surprise that Netflix has an incredible amount of data based on the type of content its users watch. That “recommended to watch” category isn’t a stab in the dark.

In her interview with Fast Company, Holland said the data showed members liked 1980s movies that are family friendly. That demand and data led to “Fuller House” and “Gilmore Girls,” two shows that were revised from when they were last on traditional broadcast or cable networks.

Speaking at the Apache Big Data conference in Vancouver this month, Brian Sullivan, director of streaming analytics at Netflix, said “We are truly a data-driven organization.”

Any change to the overall product — no matter how small or large — is backed up with some form of a data, he said, as reported by EnterpriseTech.com.

“It’s in our blood. Any time anyone proposed a change to the product, whether it’s to add a feature or to simply improve functionality, we test it,” he said. “We’ve built a really robust experimentation framework and we use it to analyze any change we make to the product, live and in production, with a subset of our users. And since we’re talking about such a large population of our user base to experiment on, we’re able to do this in a very rigorous fashion with our big data capabilities. This allows us to iterate quickly through experiments in parallel and talk intelligently about the outcomes.”

In other words, Netflix has a pretty good idea on how users are going to react to certain content.

And to date, Netflix has produced some rather addicting content. On average, Netflix subscribers use the streaming service for one hour and 40 minutes every day — more than twice as much time as socializing and communicating with friends an family, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.


Sign of the Times

On average, adult Americans watch about 33 hours of television per week, or more than four hours per day, according to Nielsen. So, the fact that we’re watching nearly two hours of Netflix per day isn’t too shocking. We’re still watching television, although it may be on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

There is no shortage of reports that shows the impact of cord cutting:

* 1 in 5 Household Have Cut the Cable Cord TV Cord

* Cord Cutting Increasing Faster Than Expected

* Cord Cutting Contributes to 1 Million Pay-TV Subscriber Loss

And don’t forget, Netflix subscribers are dropping cable in droves. The fact that people have ditched cable for a service they can pay $10 per month (plus that growing monthly Internet cost) shows that the TV media landscape is in the middle of a huge transformation. Because people no longer have cable, they’re going to spend a few hours knocking out episodes of “The Office” for the umpteenth time. It’s no different than when we would watch “The Simpsons” or “Seinfeld” reruns on Fox about 10 years ago. The beauty of Netflix is that you’re tied to a 5:30 p.m. broadcast. You’re not even tied to a location as long as you have a smartphone and data to burn for the month.

And that’s why in its first quarterly letter to investors for the end of 2015, Netflix officials touted its members streamed 42.5 billion hours worth of programming — up 29 billion hours from 2014. And guess what? In 2016, Netflix is building 600 hours more of original programming, according to Time.

With all of this in mind, don’t be surprised if an even bigger chunk of Netflix subscribers become daily users.


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Andrew Dodson

Andrew Dodson is a journalist from Michigan who writes for MLive.com, the state's top online news source. He previously worked as the technology editor for TVNewsCheck.com, a trade publication that covers the broadcasting industry, where he frequently wrote about cord cutting and taking advantage of over-the-air television. Email him at andrew@cutcabletoday.com or follow him on Twitter at @AndrewDodson.
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