People aged 50 and older are even more addicted to Netflix's original shows than millennials and teens

Ali Goldstein/Netflix‘Grace and Frankie.’
  • The older you are, the more likely you are to watch Netflix originals, new research from Nielsen suggests.
  • People age 50 and up who watch Netflix in the US spend a greater share of their time on the platform watching Netflix originals than their younger counterparts do.
  • Younger audiences may be more drawn to the licensed stuff because they’re discovering it for the first time.
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Netflix is spending billions a year on original series and movies, like “Stranger Things” and the new Ted Bundy biopic “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.” But the most popular titles on the platform are still the old TV repeats and movies that are licensed from outside studios, reports from Recode and others have recently shown.

That’s less true for one subset of Netflix’s US viewers, research firm Nielsen found.

Older people – particularly those age 50 and up – spend a greater share of their time on Netflix watching originals than the platform’s younger viewers do. In 2018, Netflix originals made up 33% of the minutes spent watching Netflix among people ages 50 and up, compared to 27% for viewers overall. Children ages 2-11 spent the smallest share of their time on Netflix watching originals.


Nielsen presented the data at a press event in New York on Tuesday.

Older audiences on Netflix may be more drawn to originals because they have already seen a lot of the older stuff. Younger viewers on the platform, meanwhile, might be discovering series like the 1990s sitcom “Friends” for the first time.

“The younger you are, you’re seeing content on Netflix that you think might be a Netflix original,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product leadership at Nielsen, said at the event. “Look at this new Netflix original called ‘Friends,'” he joked. “Where it comes out first, it feels to consumers like these are originals.”

Read more:NBC has reportedly discussed pulling ‘The Office’ from Netflix to fuel its own streaming service

While streaming audiences still skewer younger than traditional TV, the US viewership for streaming-video-on-demand services like Netflix is starting to resemble US TV viewers overall, Nielsen also found. There’s hardly an age difference anymore between the TV-watching population and streaming audiences in the US.


[Streaming-video-on-demand] is getting to the point where it looks more like the total US than you would expect,” said Fuhrer.

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