netflix orange is the new black

Netflix has become a behemoth of a streaming service thanks to its vast library of TV and movies that range from classic to current to entirely original. Subscribers have access to just about every genre, and a culture of binge-watching has been born among folks who are willing to prioritize TV over more trivial things like eating and sleeping. Now, we have an idea of just how many hours of content each subscriber watches per year on average, and the number is staggering. In 2015, each Netflix subscriber caught nearly 600 hours of streaming video.

The streaming service counted 74.76 million subscribers in 2015, and those consumers watched a total of 42.5 billion hours of content over the span of the year. Those measurements break down to 568.49 hours per person with an active subscription to the streaming service. 568 hours equals nearly 24 full days of nonstop viewing.

The 2015 numbers represent a sharp rise from those measured only four years previously. In 2011, 23.53 million people subscribed to Netflix and streamed 7.3 billion hours of video, which breaks down to an average of 310.24 hours of viewing each. (310 hours is equal to nearly 13 days.) Netflix hasn't yet released any numbers for 2016, but estimates from Cordcutting.com suggest that the figure may jump from 568 hours to 600 hours of streaming.

From a mathematical point of view, the Netflix statistics for the last five years point to a trend of continued growth that shows no signs of stopping. From a general point of view, the stats are super crazy and kind of hard to believe. Even those of us who binge-watch on a regular basis might not have realized that we've literally been devoting full weeks each year to Daredevil, BoJack Horseman and Adam Sandler movies.

All things considered, it's likely that the increases in viewing hours is related to Netflix's library of TV shows. The streaming service offers plenty of movies to fill a queue, but movies generally aren't meant for binge sessions. I know that I'm much more likely to say "Just one more!" when it comes to episodes of TV than feature films, and Netflix has a pretty stellar variety of TV offerings. Although the website has been dropping channels and focusing on original content in recent years, there are still plenty of long-running series from days gone by that can be watched for days on end.

Many of the originals have been exceedingly popular, to the point that subscribers may feel the need to binge-watch ASAP if only to keep from being spoiled. Honestly, when it comes to the Marvel Netflix series alone, it's easier to hole up for a weekend and watch an entire season than it is to avoid spoilers online. Throw in Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, and that's a few days' worth of TV right there.

Netflix is planning on increasing its original programming in the coming years. It has even borrowed a lot of money in order to produce as many originals as possible. Hopefully we won't lose too many other shows to make room for them. As much as I'm a sucker for the Marvel Netflix shows, I'd be heartbroken if I lost The X-Files and The West Wing to make room for more.

Check out our picks for the best shows on Netflix right now, and don't forget to take a look at our breakdown of the best originals.

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