NBC EXEC: Watching TV linearly is the way 'God intended' -- Netflix and YouTube aren't threats

Traditional TV has absolutely nothing to fear from Netflix or YouTube — at least that’s the stance of Alan Wurtzel, NBC’s head of research.

On a press tour for the Television Critic’s Association, Wurtzel said the reports of TV’s death had been greatly exaggerated, according to AdWeek. In particular, Wurtzel took the time to argue against the idea that Netflix had a real effect on viewing patterns.

In a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke glowingly of the binge-watching era, and how Netflix was fundamentally changing the way we consume shows.

Wurtzel’s position is that this simply isn’t true. He cited data from analytics company Symphony Advanced Media, which says that Netflix users actually return to their former viewing habits in a few weeks, and that original shows from Netflix don’t make much of an impact.

Wurtzel cited “Orange is the New Black,” which he claimed drew 23% of all viewers in its first week, but dropped to 3% by its fifth.

“Everyone goes back to watching TV like God intended,” Wurtzel said. He meant linearly, or traditionally, according to AdWeek.


Wurtzel also called YouTube’s threat to TV a “sidebar,” and said the amount of time people spend on YouTube is “ridiculously small.” He cited statistics that adults 18 to 24 spend 62 hours watching TV and only 12 hours watching YouTube.

He made no mention of the fact that people aged 13 to 24 not only spend more time watching free online video than they do watching TV, but also find it more entertaining and relevant to their lives.

Business Insider has reached out to Netflix for comment.

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