updated 02:29 pm EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
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Netflix has admitted that it may play a role in keeping its subscribers from doing "something." That, Ad Age reports, was as far as Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was willing to go when asked whether the streaming service was responsible for market cannibalization. The executive stopped short of accepting blame for viewership declines among broadcast and cable channels, though, and touted Netflix's role in bringing in new viewers for some shows.
Sitting on a panel with executives from Time Warner, Cox Communications, and News Corp., Sarandos said that the company's billions of hours of viewing meant that the streaming service had to be taking away time from something in its viewers lives, but that didn't have to mean linear television. Sarandos left open the possibility that Netflix streaming kept users from engaging in other activities besides television watching.
Sarandos went on to highlight Netflix's role attracting new viewers to AMC's Mad Men, and played down notions that the streaming service played a role in viewership declines for networks such as Nickelodeon.
Netflix's impact on ratings for traditional broadcasters has been the subject of much debate since the streaming service began growing in popularity. Content providers have taken a number of steps to mitigate what they perceive as Netflix's negative effects on viewership, with some delaying the release of new material on the streaming service, while others have halted deals favorable to Netflix in order to curb competition.