As subscription streaming, digital movies purchased online, and Internet and cable video-on-demand (VOD) services are becoming a part of many Americans' entertainment diets, Netflix seems to be their first choice.
According to a recent review of the home video market in the U.S. by The NPD Group, Netflix's share of digital movie units -- downloaded or streamed -- reached 61 percent between January 2011 and February 2011, followed by Comcast at 8 percent, and a three-way tie for third at 4 percent among DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and Apple. Based on information from NPD's new VideoWatch Digital tracking service, digital video now makes up one quarter of all home video volume.
"Sales of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs still drive most home-video revenue, but VOD and other digital options are now beginning to make inroads with consumers," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. "Overwhelmingly digital movie buyers do not believe physical discs are out of fashion, but their digital transactions were motivated by the immediate access and ease of acquisition provided by streaming and downloading digital video files."
NPD also compared consumer-reported satisfaction with four modes of digital-video acquisition: electronic sell-through (EST), Internet VOD (iVOD), cable VOD, and subscription streaming. Consumers clearly recognize that EST services like iTunes have the most "current releases available," while Netflix streaming gets credit from customers for providing the best "overall shopping experience" and "value for price paid."