In fact, it’s not even close.
Without any data, it certainly passes a sniff test to suggest that Netflix would have likely seen massive viewership growth over the past five years, especially when compared to their network counterparts. But what fun would that be, without some brutally telling numbers, right?
Now there’s plenty of data to prove that Netflix continues to rip viewership from the major networks as more and more eyeballs are spending their time staring at shows and movies on Netflix (or at least at the Netflix library trying to find something to watch).
Comparing 2010-2011 with 2015-2016, Netflix has seen 669% growth relevant to their competitors, thanks to some research by Matt Ball over at REDEF. Comparing that to other networks, though, is where things get really impressive.
ESPN fell 16%, NBC fell 11%, Disney (minus ESPN) fell 14% and Time Warner fell a whopping 21%. The only network that saw healthy growth? Discovery, who went up 33%.
Get the full data below:
Some of you might be wondering, what do these numbers actually mean when it comes to the entertainment industry? The reason 90% of TV exists is to sell advertisements. The more eyeballs focused on a TV show, the more valuable that TV show is for the network. Television advertising, while declining, is still extremely lucrative.
Now herein lies the exception: Netflix (or any subscription service without ads, really). Netflix doesn’t necessarily care how many of its subscribers tunes in for a specific show. While customer retention metrics might play a part of this, Netflix’s main goal is always going to be drive their subscribership numbers. Netflix is happy if you’re happy paying $8-10 a month for their service. And while they’re obviously elated when a show hits a mass audience like ‘House of Cards,’ they maintain a much different set of success metrics relative to their network counterparts.
Now will Netflix competitors, such as Hulu and Amazon, or the networks themselves releasing their own streaming services, start to catch up? We’ll be monitoring this trend very closely in the coming few years and can’t wait to see what we find.