Nielsen: Netflix still king of the living room, Hulu users prefer PCs

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A newly released study by Nielsen has shown some interesting data about the nature of consumption for digital content giants Netflix and Hulu, especially the devices people use: Less than 3 percent of subscribers use their mobile phone or iPad to access their movies and shows.

That’s a fairly unexpected number considering Netflix has recently reported that 75 percent of its new subscribers are opting for their digital-only package. Also consider that YouTube is responsible for roughly 22 percent of total global mobile bandwidth. These numbers seem to prove we watch YouTube for very different reasons and in different environments than Netflix or Hulu.

Netflix viewers also claim to watch the majority of their content via a television screen, whether the data is coming via computer, Wii, PS3, Xbox , Roku or Internet-enabled television. Only 42 percent of Netflix users cite using the service directly on a computer. Hulu also claims a lower percentage on television screens, but a whopping 89 percent of users access Hulu through their computers directly.

Also interesting is the distribution of content users watch when on either Netflix or Hulu — a very clear indication of where either company’s strengths lie. Fifty-three percent of Netflix subscribers watch movies, while a measly 9 percent of Hulu users do the same. Conversely, only 11 percent of Netflix subscribers watch television shows, as compared to 73 percent of Hulu users.

It is worth noting that all of Nielsen’s data was captured over about 12,000 interviews in March of 2011. In today’s fast-changing digital environment, these percentages have likely already shifted.

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