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Netflix Is the #3 Broadcaster in the U.S., Will Be #1 in 2016

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The subscription video-on-demand service Netflix is now the third biggest broadcaster in the U.S. That's according to data released today by online video advertising company Alphonso. With Netflix's current growth rate and its momentum, it will be the biggest broadcaster in the U.S. by next year, says an Alphonso blog post. In the past year, Netflix viewing time grew by 87 percent.

The post has other bad news for traditional broadcasters: The audience for linear TV is down 15 percent year-over-year, which Alphonso calls the biggest decline ever in a single year for broadcast and pay TV.

In 2014, Netflix counted 15 percent of all viewing hours, and that grew to 28 percent in 2015. In the same period, live broadcast and pay TV viewing shrank from 52 percent to 44 percent of all viewing hours

When viewers watch live TV, Alphonso notes, they're often highly engaged and using a mobile device or laptop to share the experience. The company measured high mobile device activity for viewers watching college basketball, the Super Bowl, and golf tournaments in Q1 2015.

While Netflix has achieved its popularity in part by not showing ads, Alphonso believes that should change, and that Netflix should offer a free ad-supported tier.

Alphonso's numbers comes from its database of over 20 billion data points on TV viewing and mobile app use.

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