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When you show off your iPad to someone, you probably bring up Netflix or Hulu as one of your "check this out" apps. But, aside from the initial wow factor, it turns out that we don't actually watch Netflix or Hulu on our iPads much at all. According to the latest numbers from Nielsen, people who enjoy streaming video from Netflix and Hulu enjoy doing it on almost every other kind of device besides an iPad.
Hulu viewers overwhelmingly use their computer to stream mostly TV shows; 89 percent choose a computer as their primary viewing device, and 73 percent watch TV shows. Netflix viewers, on the other hand, only use a computer 42 percent of the time, and 53 percent mostly watch movies. While computers are still the primary device for Netflix viewing, there is also a significant number of viewers using their game system or Blu-ray player to stream.
The iPad, however, is only being used three percent of the time for Netflix, and one percent of the time for Hulu. Those numbers seem particularly low when you consider that the Netflix and Hulu Plus apps are two of the most popular free iPad apps in the App Store; Netflix is currently smoking at number 19, and Hulu Plus is currently ranked at a very respectable 55.
So is this a case of most Netflix and Hulu subscribers just don't have iPads? Or is it that the iPad, with limited sound and screen, just does not lend itself to sustained streaming video for a lot of people?
For what it's worth, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings doesn't consider the iPad a major device for his business; what is most critical to Netflix, he’s said, are developing ways for his customers to stream video onto TVs through game consoles and web enabled TVs and Blu-Rray players. Hulu, of course, has a huge subscriber base of free viewers, and only a small number of them pay for subscription plans required to stream through the app.
It appears both services are eager to be in the App Store, and we all seem eager to put their apps on our iPads, but no one seems sure of where we go from there.