Netflix Tops “Must Keep TV” Rankings Ahead of ABC, NBC, CBS & FOX

There’s no denying that Netflix is the king of streaming, but it may be fair to say that it’s close to being the king of television period. 

When a recent study asked people to pick television services they couldn’t live without, more people chose Netflix than any other streaming service, cable channel or broadcast network. 

The research firm Solutions Research Group has conducted a “Must Keep TV” study each year for the past 13 years. In this study, participants are presented 79 broadcast channels, cable channels and streaming services and asked to select a few that are “must keep.” 

For years, Netflix has slowly been climbing the rankings while the “big four” broadcast network of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox sat on top. But this year, Netflix finally leapfrogged them to take the top spot.

Traditional broadcast networks did take the next four spots (in the order ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox), but streaming made another appearance at number six with Amazon Prime and seven with Hulu.

It’s not until spot number eight that we see the first cable property – ESPN. PBS and CNN round out the top 10.  

Even though it just debuted late last year, Disney+ is already fairly high on the list, coming in at number 13 – above spots number 14 and number 22 respectively for Amazon Prime and Hulu when they first joined the list in 2017. 

Netflix finally claiming the top spot isn’t necessarily a sudden coup, as they’ve ranked number one in the age 18 to 34 bracket in this study four years in a row now (Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, ABC and Fox are the top five in that demographic). But beating out names synonymous with television for decades now is still quite the achievement. 

Maybe the most notable aspect of this study is not the fact that Netflix is on top, but that three streaming services make an appearance before any cable channel. If this shows us anything, it’s that major networks are still important, but people are starting to care about cable less and less. 

SRG conducted this study from May 22 to May 26, 2020, asking 1,400 consumers aged 12 and older their opinions.

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