Netflix Customers Spent 2 Billion Hours Watching Streaming Video In The Last Part Of 2011

All that time spent in front of computer screens devouring hour after hour of Downton Abbey/Breaking Bad/That Move You Won’t Admit You Watched have added up. Neftlix has announced that its members have watched over two billion hours of streaming video — just in the fourth quarter of last year.

According to our smarter older siblings at Consumer Reports, Netflix’s statement says the 20 million streaming customers around the world pitched in viewing time to reach the big numbers.

“We were thrilled to deliver more than two billion hours of TV shows and movies across 45 countries in the fourth quarter,” said Netflix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Netflix delights members by giving them choice, convenience and control over the entertainment they love for an incredibly low price.”

Netflix has been working hard to bounce back after its failed attempt to split its memberships between the DVD by mail business and the streaming option, as well as increasing prices for each service.

Netflix video streaming hits 2 billion hours [Consumer Reports]


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  1. Cat says:

    I’m sorry, that was me.
    I just got a Roku at the end of December, and it has no “off” button.

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      I sleep to David Attenborough specials every night… so I pitch in a few hours too.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      Same here…I treated myself to one in November, and watched 3 seasons of Breaking Bad in a week. My tv doesn’t even turn on to the normal (antenna) channels anymore. I’m greated by the moving Roku logo.

    • Murph1908 says:

      I helped. I got a Nook Tablet, and caught up on HIMYM seasons over the holidays.

    • nbs2 says:

      Actually, that may have been me.

      Something about a 4-4.5 hour commute each day and unlimited data that makes ATT send me “you are the 5%” love notes. Although, I don’t think I got mine last month until I hit 8GB but this month I got it at 5.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      sounds like you are enjoying the roku!
      we’re up to 4 in my house. i’ve my original roku N1000, the XD/s, the roku2 XS and i just gave my roommate the roku2 XS angry birds limited edition for her birthday. i think if we turn them all on [we each have our own netflix account] we could help boost the streaming to a new record for 2012.

      • Cat says:

        I’m thinking to make the second one a “kids only” box. It’s a shame Netflix has no “v-chip” equivalent, so they will not have Netflix.

        Should I set it up on a separate account for them? Suggestions?

        • caradrake says:

          I’d also like suggestions for how to do this. My son likes to choose his own shows (mostly Power Rangers and Barney… I swear, I don’t know where he gets it!), but I’m a little worried that everything is all mixed together.

          I wish Netflix would allow sub-accounts. :/

          I don’t even think a second account would really work, you’d have to constantly switch out via the TV (we use a sony bluray player for netflix streaming), and sign in, and my son can’t do that yet. Although I guess if we allowed him a tv in his room… but he’s only 5.

          I didn’t think cats had issues with kid censorship.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          there’s a channel for keeping your kids from watching the wrong stuff on netflix. it’s $5 a year with a one month free trial. many people find that cost effective.

          but if you have a roku2xs and an LT [if i recall correctly] then yes, i’d recommend a separate account. the roku2xs can hold more channels. and you can set up both or either box to have a PIN before channels can be added either 1) at all or 2) paid channels only. many people who give the kids their own box set up a PIN to add channels at all. and one of the reason i try to figure out the channel codes for public channel store channels is so parents can add channels from their online account and never let the kids know that the channel store is an option.
          you can also create the account without payment info, either on the phone with customer service or create the account and then remove the payment info. that will keep any spending accidents from happening even if you set up a PIN and they figure it out.

          • Cat says:

            I’ve seen that app, but haven’t tried it yet. It’s actually not for me, I am always there to control the kids – but a neighbor asked about it.

            In fact, it was one of your posts on a forum that led me to that app. Wherever I go when researching Roku, there you are.

    • momtimestwo says:

      I just got 2 Roku’s last week. One in my bedroom, one in my daughters bedroom. She watches Crunchyroll while playing Minecraft. I’m watching 24 all over again on Prime because I miss Jack:)

  2. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Do kids/offspring, loaner login & cheap roommates count as customers ?

  3. Straspey says:


    BTW – that means you’re about 41,666,666.7 years old.

    Keep smiling…

    • Straspey says:

      Sorry – omitted an important step in the calculation.

      You’re actually only about 114,155,251 – but you still don’t look a day over 100,000,000

  4. I'd Buy That For A Dollar! says:

    I quit Comcast in 2011, in favor of Netflix streaming. Haven’t looked back since.

    • Cat says:

      I bet you’re still paying them for internet.

      They’ve got you right where they want you.

      • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

        They’ve got you right where they want you.

        If by that, you mean “in a market where they have no competition” then, yes. Yes they do.

        • Cat says:

          Exactly! Just like Cable TV!

          Same as it ever was.
          Same as it ever was.
          Same as it ever was.
          Same as it ever was…

      • quieterhue says:

        Haha, so true. We dropped cable, but of course we still have to pay for internets. Damn you, Cox! That said, a $50 monthly bill is way better than a $150 monthly bill (b/c, good lord,that’s where the price of cable is headed these days). I pay for Netflix DVDs and Hulu plus and that’s still a bargain compared to cable.

  5. yurei avalon says:

    I have to do something on my lunch break with my phone after all…

    And to think that my old wireless carrier was all, “why would anyone want unlimited data anyway?”

    Because people like to stream stuff at work every day since our web filter on the computer blocks it…

  6. Andreth says:

    I have a streaming video problem. Is there a 12 step for that?

    I have Netflix and Amazon streaming. Prime was worth it before they added the video and now with my Kindle Fire, I love it. Netflix has better movies, though.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I haven’t watched much Amazon streaming because I find the TV content overlaps a bit. I’ll have to see whether there’s much of a difference now that Prime streaming is a little more established.

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    it would be nice if they work on linux. it would be nice install some old machines, throw linux on it and watch netflix. I would have every room with netflix access… even the bathroom 0-o.

    • Cat says:

      It’s because Netflix uses Silverlight, Microsoft of course doesn’t want to encourage, or do anything for, Linux users.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        yea. Silverlight uses DRM. Lunix silverlight wanna be doesn’t want to do DRM. I understand why netflix do not want to release video without DRM.

        Linux community probably have their reason for not making a silverlight wanna be that handles DRM.

        Too bad the chromoOS doesn’t work either. That would be perfect.

        • hansolo247 says:

          It’s the content owners calling for the DRM. Linux lacks many of the OS features required for DRM, whereas MacOS and Windows do.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      which is funny because, as a roku user, i keep seeing people complaining on the netflix forums when their netflix stream fails on the roku and works on the ps3/wii/pc and then they say “it’s roku’s fault because it’s the SAME stream, there’s no way it could be different”
      but it’s VERY different: roku is a linux based box. netflix made a linux compatible stream for roku back in 2008 when they teamed up with roku to design the roku set top streaming box.
      so it exists, you just can’t get it without the right hardware

  8. dolemite says:

    I don’t know what it is about streaming video, but I always fall asleep about 10 minutes after putting something on.

    I really wish they’d come up with a queue system, so you can put in “episodes 1-5” of a show, without having to back out to the menu to select the next episode.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      on my pc i can choose “next episode” from the player after the episode ends. from my roku, when the episode ends it pops back to the show page and shows me the next episode highlighted so i can just click play.
      what do you use to stream?

    • Crymansqua says:

      I wish they would let you, but I doubt they will. Some people would line up 5 hours of content and fall asleep after a half hour. That’s a lot of wasted bandwidth.

  9. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    I wonder how many hours were used watching Human Centipede or the sequel if it is out yet.

  10. Malachiix says:

    What is the agreed upon consensus for accounts for a household? (typical husband/wife/2 kids)
    A year ago it was me using it only. Then my wife on her ipad, and then her and the kids using it on the WDLIVE. Then my daughter on the kindle Fire.

    Should this be 4 accounts? (basic cable prices!)
    1 account (seems kind of too cheap)

    Why isn’t there a household or family steaming account option?

    • hansolo247 says:

      Up to 5 devices, with concurrent streams limited to the amount of DVDs you rent at a time (1 stream for 0-1 discs, then 1 stream for each disc).

      • Murph1908 says:

        This may be the company line, but as casgirl says above, I can get 2 streams with my 1 disk plan. I was watching HIMYM while my son streamed something else over the holidays.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      a few months ago a former netflix employee/consumerist mentioned that in practice it’s always a minimum of two simultaneous streams to prevent glitches when people close their browser without backing out of the netflix player.
      i have the 2 disc plan so i can’t test it but i had my sister test it and several streaming only roku users have tested it and reported back on the roku facebook page and roku forums that they can always get at least 2 streams.
      on the netflix help page under *how to deactive a netflix ready device* netflix says “You may associate up to six unique devices — including personal computers and Netflix-ready devices — with your account.”

  11. thrillcook says:

    I feel like the “critics” still think “steaming” things means people only watch online entertainment on their tiny laptops.

    HDMI cables plug right into the back of any good video card or gaming device, and those can be linked to HDTV’s and projectors.

  12. hansolo247 says:

    the stock popped 11% today, too.

    I had bought in after they tanked from the Qwixter and pricing fumbles. I usually buy after bad news. I’m still down 4% tho.

  13. little stripes says:

    I love that Netflix has a lot of stuff from the BBC. “Jekyll” is awesome.

  14. damageddude says:

    A typical re-run of a one hour drama runs 40-50 minutes commercial free, depending on age of show. Perfect for me to pop my iPad onto my treadmill, log on and watch a show while I exercise in the morning. I’m having a great time sweating to (at the moment) Star Trek: DS9.

  15. yagisencho says:

    Guilty as charged. Netflix streaming is nearly what I’d always dreamed television could/should be. In fact, I’d stopped watching television shows until Netflix came along.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Yes. LOST was the last TV show I ever watched live. (And even then I’d caught up with the first 4 seasons on DVD.)

      I am simply never near a TV with cable/DVR/worthwhile antenna during times I’m in the mood to watch something. For years I’d been missing out on Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Justified, etc. just because live/DVR TV is not compatible with my lifestyle anymore. I’m digital all the way, and Netflix is the first place I look. (I always grumble a little bit though when Netflix releases instant versions of seasons after I’ve already paid to watch them on iTunes or Amazon though!)

      DVR used to be a viable home entertainment option for me before our cable went digital. Now TiVo doesn’t let us stream content to our PCs like it used to due to digital content restrictions. We’re moving backwards in that department.

  16. art steinmetz says:

    The dirty little secret of streaming Netflix is that movie content is shrinking even as TV content is growing. Two movies have disappeared from my queue in the last 2 months as netf
    It has lost the rights to them. I noticed this right after I converted my sub. to streaming-only, of course. This breaks the implied promise of streaming, which was growing availability of movies over time.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That’s why I kept my DVD service. There are still tons of movies on DVD, but they’re not growing the streaming as fast. I don’t mind paying the $16 right now because it’s still way cheap for the amount of stuff there is to watch though.

      I’ve been streaming a lot of older TV. Emergency!, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Beakman’s World, and now I’m addicted to the old 60s Dark Shadows soap. :)

  17. katarzyna says:


  18. sadie kate says:

    I lost my job when I was pregnant because I was too sick to work. So we ditched our cable, kept our Roku, and I watched all 2 billion hours while I was confined to my bed for 6 months.

  19. 6T9 says:

    Be pissed off at Netflix if you want. They stepped in a pile of shit, realized it and fixed it. Bottom line: they are a great service.

  20. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    “Netflix has been working hard to bounce back after its failed attempt to split its memberships between the DVD by mail business and the streaming option, as well as increasing prices for each service.”

    The small number of customers they lost were more than offset by the price increase. Netflix never needed to bounce back, because there was nothing to bounce back from.

  21. OnePumpChump says:
  22. khooray says:

    I think I make up about 500 hours of that total for the last 3 months.

  23. skakh says:

    I confess! Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, Dead Like Me, Mad Men! Why waste time on network or cable TV, with so many silly and insulting commercials, when one can watch such great series without commercials and at convenient times.

  24. human_shield says:

    People everywhere are soaking up blah TV shows and B movies!