Talking tech since 2003

I just saw an article on MSNBC’s tech blog which reports the findings of a survey conducted by Nielsen that states Hulu users watch more TV than Netflix users.  My reaction? Seriously? That’s a surprise to you?  Did they expect to find different results?  Honestly, if the results were reversed then it would be interesting and worth reporting on.  Let me explain.

The survey was conducted in March 2011 and consisted of more than 12,000 online interviews that focused on usage and attitudes towards Hulu and Netflix.  It found that 73% of Hulu users watch TV shows while only 11% of Netflix users watch TV shows.  Now, Hulu is primarily for TV shows, in fact, last I checked its movies section was pretty terrible.  The whole point of Hulu (Plus) is get access to TV shows and faster releases for show episodes that just aired and that are currently “in season.”  Meanwhile, the original idea (and still its main purpose) behind Netflix is to offer access to movies and TV show seasons that have already passed.

Netflix executives said themselves that Netflix is more of “rerun” TV.  Hulu is the complete opposite.  If anything, Hulu is great if you miss an episode of your favorite TV show and want to watch it before the following week’s episode.  That’s nothing like “rerun” TV – the need Netflix is looking to fill.

So, I ask again, did we really need a survey to tell us that users of a service whose primary focus is TV would watch more TV than users of a service whose primary focus is movies?  No, I think not.

Nonetheless, I’ve included Nielsen’s chart below for whatever it is worth to you.


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