Netflix Study Says No One Knows About Streaming Video. Huh?

A new study comparing streaming video services from Amazon and Netflix found that most people surveyed didn’t even know they could stream video in the first place. Wait a minute: Didn’t a study we reported on yesterday say that 90% of Netflix users were aware of Watch Instantly?


The Catalyst Group, which executed the study, told The New York Times that streaming video wasn’t even on the study participants radar: “They were shocked that this is something you can do,” said the group’s CEO.

But the study only used 11 participants, according to its Methodology section, and only five of whom were pre-existing Netflix subscribers. The study filtered for people who had never used a Roku box–the $99 set-top box that streams both Amazon and Netflix directly to a TV–because the Roku box was the medium experimenters used to compare the services. By filtering out anyone who’d ever used a Roku from the already-tiny sample size, they ended up with a disproportionately clueless group of subjects.

streaming video

Even so, the experiment still produced a useful comparison matrix that shows how the two instant video services stack up. Participants were frustrated at Amazon VOD’s poor organization, for example, and couldn’t always tell if a movie they liked on Netflix had been added to the correct cue for instant viewing on the Roku box. The Catalyst Group reported–similar to the study we discussed yesterday–that users were deeply frustrated that they needed a $99 box to get streaming movies onto their TV, and that they weren’t content with just watching movies on their PC.

Check out the rest of the study’s findings below.