More users watch Netflix via the AppleTV than via the iPad

Thu, Jan 27, 2011


Netflix on Wednesday released their quarterly earnings report and revealed that users watch more streamed content (measured in hours) via their AppleTV than they do via the iPad.

This is a surprising revelation for two reasons. First, the ability to stream Netflix content to the Apple TV was only implemented this past September. iPad users, meanwhile, have been able to stream Netflix content since April. But what really makes the statistic so startling is that Apple has sold over 15 million iPads to date while only selling 1 million+ units of the revamped AppleTV (Note: previous generations of the AppleTV can’t stream content from Netflix).

So what’s going on here?

Are AppleTV users watching an inordinate amount of Netflix content or are iPad users not particularly interested in streaming media?

The reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. Because the AppleTV doesn’t come with a bevy of functionality, users who actively purchase an AppleTV are more likely than not to use a service like Netflix – especially when the AppleTV connects directly to a user’s HDTV, thereby ensuring a more enjoyable viewing experience. The iPad, on the other hand, is a jack of all trades. Sure it can stream movies, but that type of usage can easily get lost in the mix when there are so many apps to explore and websites to browse.

Still, the AppleTV undoubtedly has a long ways to go before it can truly compete with some of the more established set-top boxes. Indeed, Netflix pointed out in its report that the most popular devices used to stream content include both Mac and PC laptops, the Sony PS3, the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox.

And as for Google TV? Well, it goes without saying that the Google TV initiative has hit a number of snags and hasn’t performed up to expectations, thanks in part to stingy TV studios who have blocked Google TV’s from accessing flash content due to privacy concerns. That notwithstanding, Netflix acknowledges that Google TV’s haven’t been selling like hotcakes but notes that they’re intrigued by the “concept of Android and Chrome built into televisions.” That said, they’re still investing in their Google TV application.

The most important nugget of info from Netflix’s earnings report, however, was that that the service now boasts approximately 20.01 million subscribers, a 63% increase from the same quarter a year-ago. Indeed the demand for streamed content continues to grow by leaps and bounds as the battle for the living room continues.


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