We Americans like to think of ourselves as No. 1 at everything but there’s at least one area where multiple studies have shown that we’re lagging far behind: In broadband speeds. The newest numbers from Netflix once again paint the United States as a land of mediocrity when it comes to broadband service, as the average connection speed for American Netflix users trails far behind the average connection speed for European users in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and all of Scandinavia. With an average connection speed of just 1.9Mbps, U.S. Netflix users still fare better than their counterparts in Ireland (1.79Mbps average connection) and Mexico (1.77Mbps average connection). Netflix regularly releases data on which ISPs deliver the fastest speeds as a way of letting its users know which of their options are best for video streaming.
The Netflix-HBO rivalry has recently gone global as both of the content giants have targeted some northern European countries for international expansion. New numbers out of Sweden show just how comprehensively Netflix is hammering HBO in the early innings. Swedish research firm MMS has published its most recent numbers for the September-October period showing that Netflix reaches an estimated 308,000 daily viewers while HBO Nordic captures a paltry 17,000 daily viewers. More →
It’s not shocking that Netflix and YouTube generate a lot of web traffic but it is somewhat surprising to learn just how much bandwidth they consume. AllThingsD points us to a new study from broadband service company Sandvine that estimates YouTube and Netflix combine to account for just over half of all peak-hour download traffic in the United States and around 45% of all total traffic including uploads. What makes this particularly interesting is how much more traffic Netflix generates compared with rival video streaming services such as Amazon and Hulu, which at peak hours combine to account for less than 3% of all U.S. traffic. Sandvine’s chart showing how much of all U.S. traffic major websites account for follows below. More →
The Digital Entertainment Group noted recently that even though American household spending on home entertainment was flat year-over-year in the third quarter, there were dramatic shifts between different categories. BGR sister site Deadline reports that sales of discs, digital movies and television programs declined by more than 7%, while rentals were up by more than 16%. Americans are rapidly turning from owners of content into renters of content. This is not necessarily great news for Hollywood, since selling a $40 disc is far more profitable in the short term than renting a movie on demand for $1.99. Yet in the long term, rental income could turn into a torrent if it keeps growing rapidly enough. More →
Netflix is continuing to exhibit unprecedented growth as its lineup of original programming expands. Having already raked in more subscribers than HBO in the U.S., Netflix is looking to outpace movie channels and on-demand services even further by bringing movies to the living room the same day they hit theaters. Speaking at the 2013 Film Independent Forum, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said that the model the company currently uses for TV shows “should extend pretty nicely to movies.” More →
It’s hard to beat expectations after your share price has soared from $60 to $330 in a year. Incredibly hard. Yet that is what Netflix just accomplished on Monday evening — and the company’s share price shot up another 10% during after-hours trading. The company’s Christmas-quarter guidance was spectacular. Wall Street expected earnings of 45 cents for the December quarter and Netflix just guided between $0.47 and $0.73. And according to Variety, Netflix also plans to double its spending on original programming in 2014 from its already sumptuous 2013 levels. This could leave Hulu reeling. More →
It’s safe to say that Netflix is doing pretty well for itself. The popular online content provider posted a very strong third-quarter earnings report on Monday, with earnings per share of $0.52 on revenue of $1.1 billion. The most important number, though, was the 1.3 million net added subscribers in the United States that put the company over the 30 million subscriber mark for the first time. This means that Netflix now has more subscribers in the U.S. than HBO, which has an estimated 28.7 million U.S. subscribers according to research firm SNL Kagan. Analysts had expected Netflix to add between 700,000 and 1.5 million subscribers on the quarter so Netflix’s 1.3 net additions certainly came in at the high end of the spectrum.
Netflix has produced a family of original shows that have had varying degrees of success, from the critical panning of Hemlock Grove to the Emmy win of House of Cards, but once you’re done binge-watching a series on Netflix, there’s nothing else to see. DVD box sets contain hours of bloopers, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage, but Netflix has yet to offer any additional content on its site. Speaking with CNET, Netflix VP of product innovation Todd Yellin says that might change soon. Yellin stressed that the shows will always be the focus for Netflix, “[b]ut supplemental content, whether that’s extra features or so forth, we’re going to test that around our own originals.” If users respond positively to extra features, Netflix will also consider licensing additional content from other partners. Yellin did not provide a timetable for when the extra features might begin rolling out.
According to a recent report, Netflix is negotiating with several American cable companies in an effort to become a feature in regular set-top boxes. Comcast is one of the companies considering adding Netflix streaming to its boxes, The Wall Street Journal claims. Netflix has already struck such deals in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Why would Comcast be interested in boosting Netflix? One possible explanation is Breaking Bad. The cult show debuted to tepid ratings — the fourth season finale grabbed only 1.9 million viewers. But after Netflix added the show to its roster and offered it robust support, the show’s audience soared during its last two seasons. For its final episode, Breaking Bad was watched by a stunning 10.3 million viewers. More →
With around 800,000 federal employees on furlough due to the government shutdown, they’ll have a lot more time to catch up on missed episodes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog notes that Netflix’s stock price saw a big jump right after the government shutdown started on Tuesday morning, although it cautions that this could be due to a variety of factors such as the company’s recent distribution deal with a Swedish cable company. At the very least, though, it’s a striking coincidence and it will be interesting to see whether Netflix’s overall traffic numbers have similarly surged since the start of the shutdown.
Just days after expanding its roster of British shows dramatically, BGR sister site Variety reports that Hulu is considering an ad-free service that could be a bit more expensive than Hulu Plus. At the moment, Hulu offers a free service with three ads every 30 minutes and the $8 Hulu Plus service runs two ads every 30 minutes. Hulu seems to be in a hurry to revamp its service after Netflix has dominated U.S. media coverage of streaming services all year long. The problem here is that Hulu’s new moves seem reactive. An ad-free service would be nice — but Netflix already offers it. Getting a wide selection of BBC shows like “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear,” and others also sounds like a great idea — but Netflix has long had a supremely broad selection of British shows spanning several decades and genres like crime, drama, comedy, period pieces and documentaries. More →
Netflix has been the movie and TV streaming service to beat for years, but the company continues to explore potential avenues for expansion. Bloomberg reports that Netflix has been offering to partner with cable companies for two years, but has yet to make much headway. Two European cable companies, Virgin Media in the U.K. and Com Hem AB in Sweden, have both decided to include Netflix as an app on TiVo set-top boxes, but U.S. companies have yet to accept the partnership. More →
Netflix’s share price ticked up 2% on Thursday as ratings for one of the most important days of the new television season came out. Wednesday is the second-most lucrative day for the television ad market after Thursday — and this week, most of the key Wednesday shows had their season debuts. The results were mostly dismal. More →