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Cutting the Cord: Why Netflix reigns supreme

Netflix’s dominance in subscription streaming video is pretty much taken for granted. The streaming provider got to market first with the largest library and has continued to build upon it with new originals and increased video quality. But could a competitor overtake Netflix? Not without stepping up their game, a recent consumer survey suggests. Netflix is the most popular subscription video-on-demand service, found in 36% of U.S. homes, followed by Amazon Prime Instant Video (13%) and Hulu Plus (6.5%), according to Nielsen.netflix-building

Netflix is such a “resounding favorite” that about 20% of consumers think that it could replace traditional broadcast and pay-TV services, according to the new survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers conducted in May and June by iModerate. That echoes the sentiments of Rich Greenfield, a media and technology analyst for BTIG Research, who noted Netflix’s long-term vision of replacing linear TV. “Netflix is winning the daily war for consumer time and attention,” he wrote recently in a research note. Netflix subscribers now watch about two hours of video daily on the service, he said. “Just a few years ago, the ‘knock’ on Netflix was there was not enough to stream/watch,” Greenfield wrote. “Now consumers are building up personal ‘bucket’ lists of series they want to see on Netflix — new and library content is coming on faster than it can be consumed/watched.”

So strong is Netflix’s influence that many of the survey respondents were also hopeful that Netflix’s influence may force cable and satellite TV providers to offer more options at more affordable prices. Other insights from the survey, conducted and analyzed by research firms iModerate and Luminoso. Netflix has a strong strong brand identity because users talk about “watching Netflix,” rather than watching shows on the service. “Consumers often decide to embark upon a Netflix binge and then choose a show,” the report said.

Netflix is known equally for TV and movies, while Hulu is identified as a destination for TV. (Note: Hulu does have movies, including many from the Criterion Collection, most of which require a $7.99 monthly subscription.) Amazon Prime Instant Video is confusing. That’s because it’s bundled among the perks you get when you subscribe to Amazon’s Prime shipping service (you pay $99 annually — students pay $49 — for free two-day shipping, free streaming of movies and TV episodes, streaming music and other benefits).