While movies are still the mainstay for Netflix's streaming-video customers, a recent Nielsen survey shows they're increasingly turning to the service to watch TV shows.
According to the study, 19% of Netflix subs prefer to use the service for TV or TV-like programming, up from 11% in 2011. Meanwhile, subscribers mainly streaming movies dropped from 53% last year to 47% in 2012. Netflix users that said they prefer to watch both movies and TV shows equally remained relatively flat, at 36% in 2011 and 35% in 2012.
"Increasing original content could help to drive Netflix users to stream even more TV-like content in the future," Nielsen said in a blog post.
Netflix in June 2012 served more than 1 billion hours of video, according to a Facebook post last week by CEO Reed Hastings.
The company -- which had 23.4 million U.S. streaming customers as of the end of March -- has employed a strategy to add full past seasons of TV shows to the service.
Hastings and Netflix CFO David Wells, in their letter to shareholders discussing Q1 results, said the addition of prior seasons "is not only a great experience for Netflix members, but can help build the audience for new seasons." They pointed to AMC's premiere of Season 5 of Mad Men, which had a 20% bigger audience than last season's premiere.
The Netflix execs said the company's original programming strategy "was a strategic experiment," adding that they are still uncertain about "when or whether we will take it beyond 5% of our large content spend." For example, Netflix exclusively offered Lilyhammer, starring Steven van Zandt, to streaming U.S. subscribers starting in the first quarter of 2012.
The Nielsen study was based on more than 2,200 online interviews in March and April 2012, focusing on usage and attitudes for over-the-top video, particularly Netflix and Hulu.