Netflix has analysed its global streaming data across the inaugural seasons of some of today’s most popular shows – both Netflix original series and shows that premiered on other networks – looking for signals that pointed to when viewers became hooked.
It turns out that when commercial breaks and appointment viewing are stripped away and consumers can watch an entire season as they choose, it is possible to see fandom emerge: 70% of viewers who watched the ‘hooked episode’ went on to complete season.
“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,” comments 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.”
While around the world the hooked episode was relatively consistent, slight geographic differences did present themselves. The Dutch, for instance, tend to fall in love with series the fastest, getting hooked one episode ahead of most countries irrespective of the show. Germans showed early fandom for Arrow whereas France fell first for How I Met Your Mother. In Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill won Brazilians over one episode quicker than Mexicans. And Down Under, viewers prove to hold out longer across the board, with members in Australia and New Zealand getting hooked one to two episodes later than the rest of the world on almost every show. Despite these differences, the hooked moment had no correlation to audience size or attrition, regardless of show, episode number or country.