Study: 1/2 of Netflix users watch via game console

NEW YORK - July 27, 2011

Video game consoles have a lot to do with the discrepancy: Half of all Netflix users connect to its streaming service through their Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox consoles, according to the survey.

The study, conducted in 12,000 online interviews in March, researched viewing habits among the two popular streaming services.

The Nielsen Co. found that 89 percent of Hulu users stream video on their computers. But only 42 percent of Netflix users watch directly on their computers.

Nearly three-quarters of Hulu users primarily watch TV shows. Netflix is more movie-driven, with just 11 percent focusing their viewing on TV shows. Slightly more than half of Netflix users watch mainly movies.

The findings highlight the strong appeal of TV sets for streaming digital video, connected through myriad Internet-enabled devices. Other methods of connecting include Blu-Ray players, TVs with Internet access and Roku boxes.

Appetite for such video continues to soar. In May, more than 15 billion videos were streamed, an all-time high, according to Nielsen.

Both Netflix and Hulu have their problems, though.

Netflix recently sparked an outcry from some users when it announced rate raises and a new pricing structure. Netflix plans to charge $8 a month for streaming, which it launched late last year, and an additional $8 and up for various DVD plans.

Earlier this month, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said Hulu's owners are "committed to selling." Hulu is owned by Disney, News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners.

In addition to its free service, now offers a premium service for $7.99 a month with more back-season TV shows and more movies.

Competition is also increasing. On Tuesday, Wal-Mart began streaming many movies the same day they come out on DVD. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought video-streaming service 18 months ago and now offers 20,000 titles.

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