Despite subscriber & content loss, Netflix streams 2 billion hours in 4Q

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Netflix may have ended 2011 with a whimper, shedding an estimated one million subscribers and popular content, but people still watched. Boy, did they watch.

Despite subscriber & content loss, Netflix streams 2 billion hours in 4Q

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“We were thrilled to deliver more than two billion hours of TV shows and movies across 45 countries in the fourth quarter,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

The astounding figure places Netflix as the 15th most-watched network, said BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield.

The instant streamer made a concerted effort to capture television buffs’ attention last year, signing new deals with CBS, NBCUniversal and more. However, failed negotiations with cable networks Starz and Showtime have hurt its roster.

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Netflix intends to make up for the losses with its own batch of exclusive series, starting with next month’s “Lilyhammer.” Starring ex-“Sopranos” star Steven Van Zandt, the show follows former NYC gangster Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano as he adjusts to his new life under the Witness Protection System in Norway.

Later this year, the company will debut “House of Cards,” a re-imagining of the 1990s British miniseries. New episodes of “Arrested Development” and “Hemlock Grove,” a horror show produced by Eli Roth, are also in development.

Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said the growing roster will keep viewers happy in 2012.

“In the coming months, Netflix members can enjoy complete seasons of great TV series from all the major networks and most branded cable channels as well as fantastic films like ‘Drive,’ ‘Hugo,’ ‘Captain America’ and ‘Margin Call,'” he said. “The more great TV shows and movies Netflix adds, the more people watch.”

Sarandos claimed last year that 60 percent of Netflix streamers preferred TV shows over movies. (via Netflix)

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