Monday, April 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm.

Netflix explains why it’s good for TV networks (PDF)

From Netflix’s quarterly letter to shareholders PDF:

In the past, we have said that our licensing of complete back seasons of on-air TV series is not only a great experience for Netflix members, but can help build the audience for new seasons. We saw this demonstrated recently with the premiere of Season 5 of “Mad Men” on AMC achieving its biggest audience yet (20% higher than last season’s premiere), subsequent to the first four seasons becoming available on Netflix last summer. Even now, the most watched episode of “Mad Men” on any given day on Netflix is the first episode of the first season. This means we are still growing the fan base for this show nearly 6 years after it first premiered on television.

I’m not sure if Netflix can take credit for more people watching the ‘Mad Men’ premiere — I’d love to see data that proves that — but it’s an interesting hypothesis, and it makes some sense.