Cable TV Service Costs Subscribers Three Times More Per Hour Versus Netflix
That's one possible takeaway from a comprehensive report by Nielsen (PDF) that examines content consumption across television, radio, TV-connected devices, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Nielsen didn't set out to compare Netflix to cable TV directly, but using the numbers provided, the folks at AllFlicks
It breaks down like this: using Netflix's own data, its more than 75 million users collectively stream 125 million hours of TV shows and movies each day. When you break that down further and factor in the cost of Netflix's most popular plan, the average subscriber is paying around a third of a cent per minute of content, or just $0.20 per hour. Not bad.
It's easy to poke holes in the comparison here. For one, Netflix requires a broadband Internet connection and there's a cost associated with that, though it's moot if you need one anyway. There's also the value of the content consumed to consider—a cable subscriber might be watching a sporting event on ESPN or a blockbuster movie on HBO, whereas a Netflix subscriber might have settled for something stagnant (that can work in both directions).
Whatever, this isn't science at its finest. But it is an interesting analysis, especially since a $100 cable subscription should have so much more to offer than Netflix. What this means for Netflix is that the more worthwhile content it's able to add, the more time subscribers will spend streaming movies and TV shows, which in turn would create an even bigger disparity in value between Netflix and cable.