The time people spend watching streaming services has increased over the last several years, and the time people spend watching live TV has decreased.
But live sports and awards shows are going to be the “saving grace” of TV, at least according to Netflix’s programming boss.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said at a media conference in New York on Wednesday that so-called “linear television” — traditional cable and satellite programming that’s scheduled at a certain time — will become “even more linear.”
“It’s going to become more about events, and more about award shows and live sports — all of those things that really you can’t replicate,” Sarandos said Wednesday morning, according to a live webcast of the event, hosted by the media and telecommunications research firm MoffettNathanson. “Where the attribute really is the liveness of it, television is fantastic.”
“And I think the real saving grace for television is they will focus on the other things and make it more event-oriented… But I think that’s the natural migration.”
Although traditional TV watching as a whole is down among Americans, live sports viewing remains a bright spot.
This year’s Super Bowl drew a record audience of 114.4 million viewers.
The Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao boxing match earlier this month broke pay-per-view viewership — and revenue — records, while the college football national championship game between Ohio State and Oregon in January was ESPN’s most-watched program ever.
Netflix’s Sarandos also said that the streaming service is “a great solution for consumers” when it comes to scripted programming that’s conducive to on-demand viewing, which he said Netflix will continue to focus on.
Americans still watch a lot of traditional TV — the average American spent a whopping five hours per day watching live and on-demand TV in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Nielsen. But that was a four per cent decrease over the same period the previous year.
The amount of time Americans spent watching video online from services like Netflix and Hulu was up 39 per cent over that time, to 35 minutes per day. That number, however, is probably higher because Nielsen’s data doesn’t take into account watching video on a smartphone, through a streaming device like a Roku, or using a game console like an Xbox.