Here’s more evidence that Netflix is slowly chipping away at traditional TV viewing. According to a public Facebook post by CEO Reed Hastings, Netflix subscribers watched a total of 1 billion hours of video for the first time in June. Do a little back-of-the-envelope math, and that comes out to more than an hour of video per subscriber each day.
The post was meant as a pat on the back for Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, who’s spent the last several years licensing content for the company’s streaming service. Hastings wrote:
Congrats to Ted Sarandos, and his amazing content licensing team. Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June. When House of Cards and Arrested Development debut, we’ll blow these records away. Keep going, Ted, we need even more!
The milestone comes as Netflix is trying to right the ship after a few missteps last year. After announcing plans to split apart and rebrand its DVD-by-mail service — and then rescinding those plans — the company lost subscribers in the last year’s third quarter. Since then, it’s been working to repair its brand image, and apparently succeeding.
Netflix ended the first quarter with more than 26 million subscribers worldwide, which was a new high for the company and more than 1.5 million above the number it had in the fourth quarter of last year. More importantly, its subscribers are engaged and watching a ton of video on the service.
It’s not clear how many subscribers it ended the second quarter with, as Q2 earnings are likely later this month. But if we use the 26 million number as a baseline, 1 billion hours of video viewed during the month roughly translates to about an hour, hour-fifteen per subscriber per day.
Considering the average viewer in the U.S. watches about five hours of TV a day, that’s a huge number worth watching. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and if a Netflix subscriber is tuning in to an hour of video on the service, that likely means one less hour of actual live TV he or she is watching.