Anchored by an ever-increasing library of original content, Netflix over the last two years successfully managed to increase its subscriber base by an impressive 50%. But when it comes to all things Wall St., the What have you done for me lately? dynamic still reigns supreme. So when the streaming giant released its earnings earlier this week and disclosed that its subscriber growth over the last quarter was lower than it had ever been before in company history, investors were quick to panic. Since Monday, shares of Netflix have fallen by nearly 15%.
Part of the problem, according to Netflix, was higher than anticipated subscriber churn fueled by “press coverage in early April of our plan to un-grandfather longer tenured members.” In other words, some subscribers aren’t too keen on any type of price increase. All told, it hasn’t been the best of weeks for the company that has graced us with hits like House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
But not to worry Netflix fans, not all hope is lost.
Because the narrative surrounding Netflix as of late has been decidedly negative, we thought it was high time to remind folks that Netflix, despite some subscribers canceling their subscriptions, remains exceedingly popular. In fact, some back of the envelope calculations tabulated by AllFlicks last month reveals that consumers spend considerably more time watching Netflix everyday than they do watching Hulu.
Specifically, AllFlicks found that the average Netflix viewer spends upwards of 1 hour and 40 minutes watching content every day. In contrast, the average Hulu viewer watches approximately an hour and 7 minutes watching content every day.
So is there an explanation for the disparity in user engagement? Better content, perhaps? It’s possible, but it’s really hard to say for sure, especially given that Hulu is certainly no slouch in the content department itself.
More than anything, it’s entirely likely that the types of shows on Netflix — especially Netflix’s growing stable of original content — simply lend themselves to lengthier viewing sessions. Hulu’s bread and butter, meanwhile, is not so much original hour-long programming, but rather TV shows that are often as short as 22 minutes per episode.
AllFlicks also speculates that Hulu’s commercials (the most annoying in all of media today) may also have something to do with it.
It’s possible that it’s the type of content that is driving this gap. Netflix has done very well in the original content wars, and it has focused a lot of shows that inspire binge watching. Some of Hulu’s most acclaimed content – like the Criterion Collection films – is less conducive to binge watching. Or perhaps it’s Hulu’s commercials that are causing viewers to end their viewing sessions sooner.
Regardless, the findings aren’t all that surprising. After all, would you expect anything less from a service that is more popular than both eating and sex?