Whoa, wait… What? YouTube is not at the top of the heap in a survey about online video site usage? I’m confused. Is the world about to end? Nope, no flaming ball hurtling toward Earth to end all life. By now you are wondering what I am going on about are you not? Well, in a recent survey, more people said they use Netflix than those who said they use YouTube. It’s not a massive margin but…tide, turned.

Netflix Soars

Last year when RBC Capital Markets did its survey it found that 37% used Netflix and 40% used YouTube. And again this year they did the survey of 1000 U.S. Internet users and… something changed.

Amazingly, 44% said they use Netflix to watch TV shows and movies and 43% use YouTube. That’s a first since May 2011 when Netflix last beat Youtube in an RBC survey. YouTube’s 10-survey winning streak is ended.

Now, this is not all that amazing really, particular if the question in the survey was posed as “where do you watch TV and movies online?” YouTube has not really seen massive success with their pay-per-view side of things. Sure, they have movies and TV episodes, right? It’s a bit harder to find that content than on say, Netflix. So if you have the family assembled in the living room and are going to sit down to watch a movie you are most likely going to do it with Netflix.

Or Hulu, but only if you are in the 27% that are doing so according to the service, down one percent from 2013. Amazon Prime is catching up with 22%, up from 15%.

People LOVE Netflix

Not only has it topped YouTube in usage but its users are amazingly satisfied. Around 66% said they are “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the subscription VOD service. That’s up around 3% from last year. Not only that, 69% said they are “not at all likely” to cancel said service in the next 3 months, again showing around a 3% rise and only 6% were “very likely” or “extremely likely” to do so.

Can the Love Affair Continue?

Dark clouds are forming on the Netflix horizon. Talks of increased subscription rates, tiered plans and the likelihood of yet more out-of-pocket expenses to connect to certain MSO networks is going to force them to change their business plan someway, somehow. It’s most likely going to fall onto the backs of the subscribers because they operate at a pretty slim profit margin already and enough increase in expenses could eradicate it entirely. That’s no way to run a business, losing money every quarter. So to counteract that they will almost assuredly have to begin generating more revenue and that means higher rates for its subscribers, since that’s the only way they have available to make more money. Sure, they could spend money to attract more customers, but even then they would still have to recoup the marketing costs before they started seeing more revenue.

So, as that sign the guy on the corner is holding reads… the end is nigh.


RBC Capital Markets did not provide much in the way of methodology. It was stated as “a survey of around 1000 U.S. Internet users.”