Study Shows Netflix Is Now Watched More Than Cable And Broadcast TV

Nicole Byer Nailed It
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is frequently referred to as a streaming giant, and now a new study has put the "giant" label into even more official terms. Not only is Netflix the home of some of the world's most buzzed-about series, but it is also now outpacing its peers as the top platform choice to watch TV video content, on average, totally knocking out cable and broadcast television. So what does this study say exactly, and how do those numbers break down? Here is what you need to know.

This latest slice of Netflix's dominance was reported through a new survey by the Wall Steet firm Cowen & Co, who reached out to 2,500 U.S. adults for the study. When asked what platform they most often used to view video content on television, Netflix was the respondents' top response. The streaming platform garnered 27% of the total answers, per Variety. And in case you are wondering, Netflix had a pretty significant lead over the competition.

The platform that came closest to Netflix was basic cable, which trailed seven percentage points behind Netflix with 20% of replies going to basic cable. Broadcast TV, which long been the foundation of the TV viewing experience, came in at 18%, with YouTube rounding out the top four with 11%.

There is something of a caveat here, as the group that was surveyed contained numerous people who aren't subscribed to any traditional TV services. So when the participants that that included cord-cutters and cord-nevers were taken out of the running, Netflix lost its top spot to basic cable, which drew 26%, though the streaming leader did come in a close second with 24%. (Broadcast TV took third place with 19%.) That means when people have all of the television options readily available, linear television still tops streaming. But the cord-cutting population is only growing, so their presence definitely isn't negligible.

Overall, Netflix saw an even sharper lead in its numbers when the study's stats were narrowed to adults aged 18 to 34 to weigh in on the same question. In that case, nearly 40% of those surveyed said Netflix is the platform they use most often to watch video content on television. With the demo tightened, YouTube was the next choice, placing a distant second to Netflix with 17% of respondents giving it as their answer. These are all significant numbers, which further heighten the profile of the platform that has revolutionized television consumption. Another takeaway from this study is that Amazon Prime fell outside of the top five, landing in the eighth and final place when the question was posed to the 18-34 age demographic.

As for Netflix's other competitors in that key demo, basic cable came in third with 12.6%, while the option known as "Other" came in fourth with nearly 9% choosing that option. "Other" stands for a collective that would presumably include bigger standalone services like DirectTV Now, as well as more boutique or smaller-tier options. Hulu (7.6%) narrowly edged out broadcast television (7.5%) in a dead heat that put them placing in fifth and sixth place, respectively. With just 3.5%, premium cable bested Amazon Prime by the thinnest of margins to land in the second-to-last spot.

Netflix's popularity will not come as a huge surprise. The streaming platform has become more than just a service, as its place on the pop culture landscape looms large. Thanks to the popularity of original series like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, as well as being the home to many network series post-broadcast, Netflix has garnered a kingly reputation for its seemingly infinite content.

Need more Netflix? For the content set to arrive on the streamer this year, check out our 2018 Netflix premiere rundown and when you are done with that, our guide to Amazon Prime's premiere schedule. For new upcoming and returning television shows, you can watch while trying to stay out of the heat, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.