From Netflix, the lowdown on binge viewing

The company recently analyzed its global streaming data across the inaugural seasons of popular Netflix original series and shows that premiered on other networks to try and determine when viewers got hooked.


Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, said that this observation backs up his company’s business model of providing fans with entire series of hit shows in one go, rather than releasing the episodes as weekly instalments.

That’s one or two episodes later than the rest of the world on nearly every show, Netflix revealed after surveying viewing habits in 16 territories including the United States, UK, France and Germany. When we ask where you were, we mean where you were in the season, as in: which episode really hooked you onto a show? Now Netflix has a handy guide for you to tell people exactly which episode to get to, because that’s when they will be hooked for life. It seems those in Brazil couldn’t wait to see more of Better Call Saul one episode earlier than those in Mexico. For example, worldwide Netflix viewers became addicted to Daredevil after the fifth episode, and in Canada, the TV show didn’t hook viewers until the sixth.

The series Dexter, Gossip Girl, House of Cards, Marco Polo, Orange is the New Black and Sense8 had people committed to finishing Season 1 by episode 3, and Bloodline, Grace & Frankie, Pretty Little Liars and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from episode 4. Ranging from the second episode (Breaking Bad, Bates Hotel) to the sixth episode (Mad Men) or even the eighth (How I Met Your Mother), these hooked episodes were statistically crucial to people sticking to a series.

Do you recall when you first got hooked on Breaking Bad?

Perhaps more interestingly though, over 70 percent of people who viewed one of these episodes went on to finish watching the entire series. When it comes to Mad Men, it isn’t until the sixth episode that viewers can’t stop watching Don Draper’s escapades.

Despite these differences, it said the “hooked” moment had no correlation to audience size or attrition, regardless of program, episode number or country. It took eight episodes for fans to fall in love with the comedic sitcom “How I Met Your Mother“, Netflix reported. Netflix predicts it may have been when insane Eyes’ infatuation with Piper led her to throw a pie to defend her honor.

Netflix is on a mission to bring down the “pilot” system of television, in which a TV show lives or dies on the success of its first episode. Yet on linear TV, the first episodes remain crucial.


Here’s another comedy that takes a little bit longer for viewers to stick around with than many of Netflix’s dramas.