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Netflix Driving the TV Ratings Drop

Netflix is responsible for a big chunk of the ratings declines registered by the traditional TV networks, and its share of viewership is likely to grow.

In a report provocatively titled “Is Netflix Killing TV?” Michael Nathanson of research firm MoffettNathanson looked at Nielsen viewing data and corporate financial data to measure the impact of the streaming service and its SVOD rivals.

In its most recent earnings report last week, Netflix exceeded expectation for subscriber growth both in the U.S. and abroad.

"The next leg of growth for Netflix and its competitors will likely have to come from poorer and older households, which could prove difficult as these demos are traditionally the hardest to penetrate," Nathanson said. "If this assumption holds true, then perhaps the majority of the pain is already behind us.”

Netflix accounted for 6% of total traditional TV viewing in the first quarter, according to Nathanson’s calculations, and after adjusting for last year’s Sochi Olympics, represented 43% of the quarter’s linear TV viewing decline.


Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.