In an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos offered a little bit of insight into its users’ viewing patterns.
While Sarandos was cagey around some details, he did say that television content far outweighs movies in terms of what people are watching through the service.
"About 70 percent of the total watching on Netflix is television shows in their previous season models," Sarandos said. "Our original programming is growing. And movies, they still hold onto about 30 percent of the business."
Netflix seems to have put a premium on TV content. Not only has it begun launching its own original programming—Season Two of “Orange is the New Black” was released today—but a study earlier this year by Lifehacker showed Netflix to provide access to nearly half of IMDB’s top 250 shows of all time—far outweighing competitors Hulu and Amazon Prime. (Lifehacker’s numbers, compiled in February, are probably a bit dated at this point, especially in light of the recent partnership between Amazon Prime and HBO.)
And speaking only for myself, once I’m hooked on a show I’m rarely compelled to watch anything else. If you binge on a season or four of a show, you’re putting a whole lot more time toward TV programming than movies even if you were to take a break between each season and watch a movie or two.
Another way to look at those numbers would be to acknowledge the changing definitions of television programming and film in the era of on-demand streaming content, with the ability to tear through a full TV season over the course of a few days.