The subscription numbers at Netflix are not as big as their PR people are making out and their recently added “New” content includes movies that are years old, on top of that a lot of popular content is missing.
Now research groups Nielsen has come out and said that Netflix is not the threat that everyone is making out in Australia.
While Netflix will impact TV broadcasters it won’t quite be the carnage many are either expecting or hoping for, according to Steve Hasker the global media boss of TV ratings provider Nielsen.
Personally I was impressed by the Netflix Original Series such as Marco Polo, House Of Cards and Daredevil but their catalogue listing are no better than what Google, Apple and several other streaming services are offering.
Movies such as Fast + Furious, Whiplash and Begin Again which my wife was looking for were nowhere to be found.
At the weekend Nielsen who track media right around the world said predictions of a TV bloodbath from digital video streaming had gotten out of hand. The effect on TV viewing habits, he said, was vastly overhyped.
Ogilvy PR who are Netflix Australia’s local PR Company have gone out of their way to manipulate the Netflix debate in Australia they have even tried to shut down objective questioning of Netflix executives.
The PR Company has refused to answer questions about Netflix management practises and at one stage refused to let ChannelNews question Netflix executives directly re content rights for Australia.
Hasker said mobile and PC video streaming in the United States still only accounted for 1.5 per cent of the total minutes Americans spent watching broadcast TV every day.
In Australia Foxtel executives have told ChannelNews that once the Netflix “Free period” wears off that tens of thousands will stop paying for Netflix because of poor content portfolio’s.
“We’re seeing tremendous confusion as to what the reality is around digital video,” Mr Hasker told The Australian Financial Review during a visit to Australia. “If you ask any media buyer on Madison Avenue what is going on in TV, they will say ‘oh, digital video – it’s growing fast, whereas TV ratings are coming down’.”
However, Mr Hasker said while television ratings measure audience numbers, digital broadcasters talk about total views. “The television industry in the US has not really done enough to clear that up and we haven’t done enough to help them clear that up,” he said. “But we’re very much mobilising around the idea of total audience metrics so that people, particularly marketers, can understand how big a digital video service actually is relative to TV.”
Mr Hasker told the Financial Review that Netflix in the US, which has about 40 million subscribers, equating to 60 million to 80 million people, materially hit TV viewing midway through 2014.
“In June or July last year, when the [TV network program] originals came off air and re-runs came on, American households faced the choice – do they watch reruns on broadcast or Netflix?”
In contrast to traditional broadcasting, Netflix gave viewers “complete control” and ad-free programming. “That’s what drove the decline in ratings,” he said.
“The US consumer, like the Australians, will only spend so much, so there is a real role for ad-supported content,” Mr Hasker said. “And as more and more content is viewed through SVOD, in a sense the eyeballs that are on ad-supported channels become more valuable. But the one risk that is out there is the industry broadly is training consumers to be less tolerant of advertising.