Your Netflix subscription may be saving you from nearly 160 hours of commercials a year

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Netflix offers more than just a socially acceptable way to invite someone over for a hookup. The streaming service — among its other benefits — also prevents us from having to suffer through those pesky commercials we face in droves when we watch traditional television. By streaming Netflix instead of turning to cable, we save ourselves hours upon hours of ad time.

The actual figure depends on your own streaming habits, but Cordcutting.com now estimates that the number is nearly 160 hours of commercials a year. The figure is based two key pieces of data: the fact that Netflix has 75 million members and that subscribers stream 125 million hours of content each day, according to Netflix’s CES 2016 Keynote, as reported by The Verge. Cordcutting.com calculated the average amount of time members spend viewing Netflix per day (roughly 1.67 hours), and then used the number of minutes of commercials included in an hour of cable TV (15.63 minutes), as reported by Nielsen, to arrive at the final number.

Our individual Netflix-watching time varies, of course. Some of us veer toward the Brooklyn man who managed a 94-hour binge, while still others only stream occasionally. Nonetheless, the 160-hour figure is telling. It illustrates a powerful reason why consumers are increasingly turning away from traditional cable in favor of Netflix and other streaming services.

Consumers could choose to do a lot of things with 160 hours, and presumably, few (if any) would opt to use that time on commercials. More likely, they’d rather watch additional TV shows or movies, or elect to engage in other pastimes. Netflix and other ad-free streamers are forcing TV networks to face this reality.

Fortunately for viewers, the message seems to be getting through. NBC, for example, recently announced that it would cut back on commercial breaks during the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live. Others are also making adjustments, so start thinking about what you want to do with all that extra time.

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