Netflix viewer numbers will surpass ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox by 2016

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Netflix does not give a fuck about them antiquated, cable-tethered “television” “stations.” Or their archaic signifiers. The Lumbering Streaming Giant stands primed to surpass those motherfuckers in 2016.


A new analysis from FBR Capital Markets, a Wall Street analyst firm, has surfaced showing that if Netflix were a Nielsen-rated TV network, their 24-hour audience numbers would be greater than that of all the major broadcast networks by 2016.

Find out more about the Netflix ratings after the jump!

The report highlighted by Variety is careful to point out that this isn’t an easy comparison to make though. Nielsen TV ratings only cover up to seven days of VOD and DVR viewing, and they currently do not include online video views. And since many networks put up their shows online by way of Hulu or their own websites, it’s hard to tell what networks are landing in total.

In addition, networks also have the presence of live sports to boost ratings. To me, that makes what Netflix is achieving all the more impressive since they don’t have live sports to entice viewers to watch on any given week.

But at the same time, it’s hard to tell just how well programming from Netflix would be doing ratings-wise because they don’t care about the individual “ratings” of their programming. That’s because they don’t sell ads, so they don’t really have to worry about how many people are watching in order to reach more consumers with those ads. Because of that, we only get general viewing data from Netflix.

The new report acknowledges that fact, but FBR Capital Markets points out that this is meant to “be a barometer of the relative popularity of Netflix to traditional TV.” The comparison comes from just how many hours of streaming users consumed, and here’s how the analysts compared it to Nielsen ratings:

Netflix said users streamed about 10 billion hours of video in Q1 2015, equating to nearly two hours per subscriber per day. The FBR analysts calculated what Netflix’s Nielsen rating would be by dividing the two-hour figure by 24 hours, then multiplying that by the number of Netflix U.S. subs as a percentage of households.

So if Netflix was given a traditional rating, for the first quarter of 2015, they would have gotten a 2.6 rating, which is around the same number that ABC and NBC pull in. And since Netflix’s is still growing, at a compound rate of 40% each year, they’re only going to get bigger and top the networks.