Netflix series Montauk

Since it’s the weekend, you’re likely spending at least some of the time watching your favorite show or a new movie on Netflix. There’s no doubt that the streaming entertainment service has become a major player and influence in how we consume movies and television, and now we have word that it will become more popular than network television in the next year.

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.

Netflix will only continue to grow as cable subscribers continue to cut the cord in favor of purchasing devices like the Apple TV or Roku, opting to use Netflix, Hulu, the new HBO Now and other a la carte choices for their entertainment. With network television ratings declining and cable subscribers falling way, there’s going to be a big shift in how television service is provided soon, and Netflix is a big part of that. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Netflix continues to influence how we consume our movies and TV shows in the future.

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