Is Netflix Closing In On Broadcast Networks In Total Viewing?

The streaming company probably averages 1.8B viewing hours per month domestically which is “within striking distance of the broadcast networks,” BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says today based on some new data from Netflix and his own back-of-the-envelope calculations. He starts with Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt’s disclosure yesterday that Netflix transmitted 6.5B hours of content globally in Q1. That looks to be up 18% vs last year, Greenfield says. Here’s how he gets to the domestic viewing hours estimate: The analyst figures that Netflix’s 34.55 domestic streaming subs in Q1 accounted for 82% of total viewing (down from 88% a year ago), or 5.33B hours. That’s 1.8B hours per month, and 103 minutes per sub per day. Greenfield doesn’t break out comparable figures for the Big Four networks, but last year he said that in Q1 2013 CBS had 3.3B viewing hours per month followed by ABC at 2.6B, NBC at 2.3B and Fox at 1.9B. Is the estimate worth taking seriously? I would — Greenfield’s sharp on these kinds of estimates. But keep in mind that he’s also one of the company’s most prominent supporters on Wall Street (he downgraded to “hold” in September only because the stock price had become too rich) and one of two analysts who Netflix has entrusted to raise and moderate questions at its quarterly earnings presentations.

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