Netflix Saves Us From Over 130 Hours of Commercials a Year

One of the best things about being a Netflix subscriber is the ability to binge watch your favorite TV shows without commercial interruptions.

But we had no idea just how many ads Netflix is actually saving us all from.

We calculated this total number by multiplying the amount of time the average person streams Netflix on a daily basis by the average time ads are aired during a normal one hour broadcast. With Netflix subscribers spending an average of 1.5 hours a day streaming from the service, and an average hour of television having approximately 15 minutes and 30 seconds of ads, Netflix is saving its subscribers from over 130 hours of advertisements a year.

This benefit only appears to be getting more and more valuable as over the past five years, the amount of time network television spends advertising to us has increased to 25% of a normal broadcast. Nielsen reported that in 2014, broadcast television increased to 14 minutes and 15 seconds of ads during a normal hour of TV, and that cable television increased to 15 minutes and 38 seconds of advertising. This increase on both counts saw a jump in advertising spend from $64 billion in 2009 to $78 billion in 2014. Much of that went to live sports like live NBA games and college football.

“Netflix is saving its subscribers from over 130 hours of advertisements a year.”

So it’s no wonder that media consumers are spending more and more time watching their favorite shows and movies on Netflix. Countless TV shows are streaming online these days, and consumers are using this modern technology to their advantage. In fact, it has seen a massive increase in the past 2.5 years:

netflix streaming statsAccording to a 2000 person survey conducted by TDG Research, users are now spending upwards of 1.5 hours a day on average streaming Netflix content. This ends up being around 540 hours of time spent streaming Netflix a year.

Thus if we take the average user who spends 1.5 hours a day on the service, they are avoiding 21.3 minutes of traditional television advertisements daily. Calculated over an entire year, and you’re looking at a grand total of 5.4 days of advertisements avoided.

Back in early 2015, it was revealed that television networks were speeding shows up 9-10% in order to stuff additional ad slots into the broadcast.With clever mechanics like this, it’s easy to see how the total time networks spend advertising can increase. But this also lends itself to a faster exodus to ad-free options like Netflix.

To play devil’s advocate a bit, we do understand how expensive it is to produce quality television shows at scale. A show like Breaking Bad or Mad Men requires a large budget, which is supplemented heavily by television advertising before finding its way onto Netflix. But Netflix itself is proving that it’s seemingly financially viable for them to create their own content with a growing list of Netflix originals.

While there was a scare a few months ago that Netflix was going to start testing advertisements, CEO Reed Hastings came down on that rumor quick with a definitive “no way, no how” (you could of course argue the definition of advertisement with him, as they are testing in-house content ads for their own shows similar to HBO).

Just for fun, let’s put this time savings into perspective. Here’s what Netflix would have saved you over the last year:

Days Lost Hours Lost Minutes Lost Movies Missed Seinfeld Episodes Missed






Not to mention the time you could be spending with your family and friends… watching HBO.