How Much Time Netflix Saves You per Year

May 10th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Netflix subscribers rejoice! The video streaming service that's typically associated with wasted hours of binge-watching is actually saving you tons of time each year, a new report found.

That's because Netflix doesn't run commercial ads in the middle of its television and movie programs — a deliberate departure from cable TV, which plays an average of 15 minutes and 38 seconds of commercials per programming hour.

The streaming-data site used that number and analyzed Netflix subscription data to determine how many hours the average user saves annually: Almost 160.

The important numbers to keep in mind are as follows:

  1. Netflix has about 75 million subscribers.
  2. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that subscribers stream 125 million hours daily.

Do some simple division and you'll find that each Netflix subscriber streams for about 40 minutes per day. If all 75 million subscribers spent that same amount of time watching cable TV instead of Netflix, that means each subscriber avoids 158.5 hours in commercial ads by using the service.

"To put that in perspective, the average American workweek is 34.4 hours," reports. "Netflix is saving its subscribers 4.6 work weeks’ worth of commercials each year!"

As Business Insider points out, however, "Netflix isn't just competing against cable — it's competing against all forms of entertainment."

"So it's unlikely that every hour that a Netflix subscriber spends binge-watching would necessarily be spent watching cable in a non-Netflix world. And some cable subscribers use a DVR to cut out commercials."

Regardless, Netflix's ad-free model has proven both popular and influential. Hastings acknowledged that "one of the benefits of an ecosystem like Netflix is its lack of advertising" in an interview with Bloomberg last year. "Consumers are being trained there are places they can go to avoid ads."

In certain cases, major TV networks such as Time Warner, Fox, and Viacom have suggested that they might cut back on ad time during cable TV programing in an effort to lure younger viewers back from the streaming economy. But for now, one of the main differences between cable TV and Netflix is that one has unwanted commercials and the other does not. That doesn't seem to be changing any time soon.

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