New data released by the streaming service gives “Netflix and chill” a much more literal meaning than we’ve previously been led to believe.
I remember the exact moment I became a Breaking Bad fan for life — Season 1: Episode 2, right after Jesse Pinkman made the decision to dissolve a body in his upstairs bathtub rather than a plastic barrel as Walter White had ordered him to do. The results were quite humorous.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was hooked on the series from (close to) the very beginning, as recent data released by Netflix argues that most of us who got into Breaking Bad through a good ol’ fashioned binge-watching session fell for Vince Gilligan’s particular brand of storytelling hook, line and sinker by, you guessed it, Season 1: Episode 2.
It’s just one of the many insights Netflix has gathered from analyzing our watching habits over the years, be it with shows picked up by the streaming service after the fact or ones exclusively distributed by them. In the case of Netflix’s Daredevil, most of us were hooked by episode five. For The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it was episode four. For network shows like Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother, it took a little while longer, but the end result was always the same (“Netflix and chill,” I believe is the technical term).
Why conduct this research? To prove that presenting a show commercial-free leads to increased binge-watching, and that releasing entire seasons of a program at once is a superior method of content delivery. According to the report, “It turns out that when commercial breaks and appointment viewing are stripped away and consumers can watch an entire season as they choose, you can see fandom emerge. That is, 70% of viewers who watched the hooked episode went on to complete season one or more poetically, when members were hooked and there was no turning back.”
“Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. “However, in our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.”
But what exactly defines a “hooked” episode? Well…
The data in this research was pulled from accounts who started watching season one of the selected series between January 2015 – July 2015 in Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and US and between April 2015 – July 2015 for Australia and New Zealand. A hooked episode was defined when 70% of viewers who watched that episode went on to complete season one. Hooked episodes were first identified by country, then averaged to create the global hooked episode. The hooked episode had no correlation to total viewership numbers or attrition.
It’s getting easier and easier to understand why Netflix is abandoning the majority of their movie catalogue in favor of a TV-centric approach to streaming. Check out the infographic Netflix released below, then let us know what episodes of your favorite shows “hooked” you in the comments section.