55% of Americans now use Netflix to watch shows and movies, a number that has gone up from just 25% in 2011, according to a new survey by RBC.
RBC asked over 1,000 Americans whether they had used various video services in the last 12 months. Netflix was the king at 55%, with YouTube (46%) and Amazon (31%) trailing. This continues an upward trend for Netflix that's been going strong since 2011. RBC also found record-high satisfaction numbers among Netflix subscribers.
This chart from RBC shows how Netflix has spread into the collective watching habits of Americans since 2011:
Netflix has invested heavily in licensing shows and movies to fuel its growth. The streaming giant will spend $6 billion on content in 2017 and produce 1,000 hours of original material. That's many times what HBO spends ($2 billion in 2016).
Netflix is showering the industry with cash, and buying a gargantuan amount of content. For this, it's being rewarded with ever-increasing viewership. That makes sense.
But what is a bit more surprising is how close Amazon is at 31%.
In 2016, out of the top 12 streaming shows that got the most buzz, every single one was from Netflix except for Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" (at No. 7), according to a recent report by research firm Parrot Analytics. Even though Amazon has gotten critical acclaim for shows like "Transparent" and "Mozart in the Jungle," there's a lot of evidence that suggests people are watching more Netflix than Amazon.
And yet 31% of Americans have at least watched some Amazon video in the last year. They know it exists and have tried it out. That bodes well for Amazon.
JPMorgan recently estimated Amazon will spend a whopping $4.5 billion on content this year. This would close the gap a bit with Netflix. And Amazon Studios boss Roy Price recently characterized Amazon's video focus as on “the crème de la crème,” its blockbuster shows. The “actual shows people are talking about,” he said. These might cost hundreds of millions, but they are key for the business.
Amazon is clearly getting serious about snagging shows that win not just applause from critics, but worldwide viewership. And if 31% of Americans have watched a video on Amazon in the last year, that suggests if Amazon can continue to fill out its catalog with quality titles, it could become the weekly (or even daily) habit that Netflix is for many.
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