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Nielsen's Kenny: Off-TV Content Powers Netflix

Netflix may be video's 800 pound gorilla, but it is still swinging from a broadcast antenna.

That was one of the messages from Nielsen CEO David Kenny to the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday (June 5) at a hearing on the state of the video marketplace.

Netflix and other over-the-top providers have gotten a lot of attention by broadcasters as they argue about how much the video marketplace has changed. 

Kenny concedes it is a new ballgame, but suggests the veteran players are still powering the lineup, suggesting that in that new marketplace, a trusted umpire, as it were, providing independent measurement (ratings) and analytics, is still vital, perhaps even more so that advertisers know where best to put their ads.

Related: Nielsen to Measure YouTube in 26 International Markets

"While the overall consumption of live television was down 4% between 2017 and 2018," he said, "it still comprises 78% of overall video consumption." That works out to 3 hours 44 minutes of live TV, plus a half hour of consuming recorded programming from "live TV."

And while he said Netflix and other over-the-top providers are investing "substantial sums" in new programming--NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, testifying at the same hearing, pointed out Netflix's spending was something like $14 billion in one year--Kenny suggested the service was still powered by broadcast content. 

"[E]ight of the top 10 shows on Netflix, for example, come from traditional television 'library' content," he said, including The Office, Friends, and , which each account for 2% of total Netflix viewership.

"When choosing what to watch on streaming services, consumers cited existing and former broadcast shows as the biggest influence," he said.