Netflix HeadquartersThere are a lot of ways to stream Netflix to your television these days — including, in some cases, directly through the television itself. But new data from ABI Research shows that the method of choice for most people is through game consoles.
Owners of game machines spent an average of seven to eight hours per week watching streaming video, the company found.
"Companies such as Microsoft and Sony in particular are pushing to make the consoles more central to the digital living room," says Michael Inouye, senior analyst, digital home. "Nintendo is not as aggressive in this regard yet, but with the Wii U they might try to make a bigger push into the over-the-top content delivery market."
Nintendo may not be as aggressive in promoting its Netflix streaming capabilities as its competitors, but that hasn't prevented it from becoming the single most popular streaming device.
A study by the Nielsen Co. in July found that 25 percent of Netflix subscribers currently stream movies and TV shows via the Wii. PS3 owners accounted for 13 percent of the company's subscribers. And ironically, Xbox 360 users made up just 12 percent of the group.
That last number is a little startling, since Microsoft was the first to offer the service and aggressively promotes it. However, the $60 annual payment that's charged on top of Netflix fees likely dampens the popularity.
ABI says U.S. consoles are the most likely to be tied to the Internet, with a 38.7 percent connect rate. The U.K. was right behind at 37.3 percent, followed by France (31.8 percent) and Germany (20.6 percent).
While mobile devices and tablets threaten to steal audience away from home consoles, streaming services could actually breathe extra life into those devices, the company says.
"We feel [the home console] market still has plenty of life," said Jason Blackwell, Digital home practice director for ABI. "While mobile devices might soon match the processing power of game consoles … the game console has a higher degree of persistence in the living room, giving more household members access to the device at any time of the day, whereas most mobile devices are designed for portability and a more personal experience."