Netflix viewers save '160 hours of ads' per annum

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 11 May 2016
Is binge watching challenging traditional advertising models?

Netflix subscribers save up to 160 hours of TV commercials each year compared to cable television, the website has claimed.

Netflix prides itself on being ad-free and its growing popularity is leading rivals in the US to cut back on ads, including Time Warner, 21st Century Fox and Viacom.

Netflix subscribers spend an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes watching its ad-free content per day.
In the US, a typical hour of cable TV shows 15 minutes 38 seconds of advertising, and when Netflix annual viewing time is overlaid, it works out to 158.5 hours of commercials.

The pressure on cable networks to show fewer ads is having an impact in the US and Australia. Time Warner's truTV will cut its prime time ad load by half later this year, while Fox is offering viewers on Hulu the option to watch 30-second interactive ads instead of two-and-a-half minute commercial breaks.

It's an attempt to win back younger viewers who are becoming accustomed to watching ad-free content on Netflix. In Australia, other SVOD players Stan and Presto also show ad-free content.

This season, Fox Sports is trumping up its ad-free coverage of live sport as a differentiator with rival free-to-air commercial networks.

Last year, Time Warner chief research officer Howard Shimmel acknowledged that consumers were being trained to avoid ads, providing a challenge to pay TV companies and other media players in an increasingly competitive market.

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