Here’s an early indication that Netflix‘s high-profile bet on original programming will pay off. About 86% of subscribers say that political drama House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey makes them less likely to cancel, according to a survey last week conducted by investment firm Cowen and Co. That could be important for Netflix. It’s easy to cancel the service, so execs know they have to keep customers excited. But be sure to take the survey results with at least a little grain of salt: the sample size is small. Only 346 of the 1,229 U.S. consumers surveyed on February 12-13 are Netflix customers, although another 223 are classified as non-subscribers who have access to a Netflix subscription. About 10% of subscribers and those with access to Netflix viewed at least one episode of House Of Cards in the first 12 days after it became available. The average person who tuned in watched six episodes over that period, but 19.4% watched all 13. Viewers were impressed: 36% called the series “exceptional” while 43% deemed it “good.” Despite the small sample size, “if future original programs are as successful as House Of Cards, it likely leads to a stickier subscriber base over time,” says company analyst John Blackledge.
Just as important, 90% of consumers like of the idea of releasing all the episodes of the series simultaneously, instead of spreading them out the way conventional TV networks do. About 10% said that they’re indifferent, and nobody opposed the strategy. And here’s a finding that should worry pay TV providers: 22.6% of Netflix subscribers say that they cut the cord with a cable or satellite service. That would amount to about 6M households nationwide. Due to that relatively small number, “we are not raising the alarm on the cord cutting debate,” Blackledge says. He adds that proportionately more of the people who say that they cancelled pay TV come from low income households: Those with an annual household income of less than $25,000 represent 25% of the national population and 18% of Cowen’s survey respondents — yet they account for 32% of those who told the company that they cancelled pay TV after subscribing to Netflix. That may be one reason why 67.5% of subscribers said that they would not keep their Netflix subscription if it raised its $7.99 a month price.
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