“The reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated,” said NBC President of Research & Development Alan Wurtzel borrowing a quote from Mark Twain. Wurtzel was specifically referring to notions that streaming VOD services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime were stealing viewers en bulk from broadcast TV.
“The notion that the broadcast model is broken or dying — it really isn’t,” said Wurtzel during his TCA lunch session “Not So Fast…Reality Check of Current Media Environment.” While Netflix doesn’t release their ratings, Wurtzel was quoting data that was monitored by Symphony Advanced Media from a sample of 15,000 people.
For the period of September-December 2015, Symphony measured the adults 18-49 per episode viewership for streaming series over 35 days. Here’s how the following shows stacked up: On Netflix, Marvel’s Jessica Jones drew 4.8M, Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None pulled in 3.9M, Narcos nabbed 3.2M; while Amazon’s Man In The High Castle clocked 2.1M and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black earned 644K.
“Compare these programs to shows like The Big Bang Theory, Empire or Blind Spot, and they pale in comparison. It’s not that people aren’t watching, but they (streaming) aren’t replacing broadcast,” assessed Wurtzel.
Also unveiled during the TV stat session was how a Netflix show earned its most primetime viewers during its first week of streaming, with viewership declining during subsequent weeks. In its first week of primetime, the third season of Orange Is The New Black drew 23% of all viewers starting on June 11, while 77% of TV viewers watched other broadcast or cable shows. By the fifth week on Netflix, only 3% of all viewers were watching the Jenji Kohan series. “Everyone goes back to watching TV like God intended,” said Wurtzel about the drop.
Other examples abounded: Ansari, a former vet of NBC’s Parks And Recreation, his show drew 11% of all viewers in its first premiere week and by week 2, only 8% of all TV viewers were tuning in. Narcos posted 17% in its first week on August 28 and then 4% in week 2. Other illuminating broadcast vs. Netflix stats showed that during primetime, only 20% of the 18-34 demo tuned into Netflix, versus 46% who prefer broadcast TV.
In addition, YouTube also showed itself to be a non-threat to broadcast. Wurtzel showed that the 18-24 crowd during July watched close to 63 hours on average of linear TV to 12 hours on YouTube. That number for regular TV increases for the 25-34 demo who took in close to 90 hours on average to close to 10 hours of YouTube.
In his concluding remarks, Wurtzel noted “That Netflix has a different business model. Their model is for you to write a check one a month. Some shows have a narrow audience, but they don’t care as long as there is enough people coming back next month.”