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Netflix Viewing Figures Tell Multiple Stories

June 11th, 2019   ||    by Callie Wheeler

In the endless battle for viewers’ time and attention, recent Netflix viewing figures are adding depth to the conversation. As the streaming service touts the figures as further proof of its success tearing away from traditional television, the cable TV industry can take away a few wins from the data, too.

Netflix Bragging Rights

Netflix dropped interesting insights on its first-quarter earnings call. As MediaPost reported, the company’s chief content officer told investors the top 10 most-watched shows on the platform are all original programs. He went a step further, explaining that of the top 25 shows, only four are seasons of syndicated content—the rest are original, exclusive brands.

From the streaming company’s point of view, Netflix viewing figures prove its original programming is just as healthy and viable as cable television’s programs, and that it is not dependent on syndicated content for growth or profitability.

Understanding the Context

With Netflix’s history of leveraging both original and syndicated programming, why the emphasis on its independence? Recent media deals, such as Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, are shrinking the pool of available content. As discussed on The Verge, Disney now owns franchises like Deadpool and X-Men and has a stake in streaming service Hulu.

The reality is all content now under the Disney umbrella will stay with its own brands moving forward.

What the News Means for Cable

So what do all of these streaming updates mean for cable TV? Despite Netflix promoting its recent figures as a win for streaming, the constant changes in the industry indicate advantages for cable TV that are not disappearing. If anything, they’re becoming clearer.

A Constant in the Changing Landscape

Its biggest advantage? Cable TV is consistent. Meanwhile, the streaming landscape is becoming more diverse, as NBC announced its entry into the fray earlier this year. It joins Disney and AT&T, noted Variety, adding to an already crowded field. While some may see the increase in choice as a benefit to consumers, with each change comes more uncertainty for those already invested in a different streaming platform. While NBC promises not to pull all its content as Disney has, consumers will no doubt still see a difference.

Not so with cable TV. Programs are dependable—think all those Suits reruns on USA Network—and not subject to change once a media brand is purchased, or set to expire once the program moves to a different platform. For viewers who crave some stability or who just like to turn on the TV and find something familiar, cable TV is finding wins of its own.

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