How long would you say it takes someone to get hooked on a show? One episode? Two? Netflix has the answer, and the results may surprise you.
The popular streaming service says it analyzed global streaming data for some of its most popular shows (original and third-party), and found that, on average, people don’t get hooked by the pilot. In fact, it sometimes takes several episodes before a viewer is hooked in, after which about 70 percent of viewers go on to complete the season following the “hooked episode.”
“Given the previous 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 at 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.”
For a lot of shows, it took three or four episodes before a viewer got hooked; some shows took as many as six.
Most viewers didn’t really start getting addicted to Daredevil until episode 5, whereas people were pretty much hooked on Breaking Bad from the word go. Meanwhile, it took 6 episodes for folks to get hooked on Mad Men, and 4 for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
There doesn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason, though it likely has to do with key plot points throughout a show and how early big moments happen. In Breaking Bad’s second episode, a big moment occurs between Jesse, Walt and Krazy 8, which could be the reason why viewers decided to finish the season.
Netflix is a different beast compared to primetime TV, allowing subscribers to watch a show at their own pace, with no commercial breaks involved. I wonder how different AMC’s data would be compared to Netflix’s with a show like Breaking Bad. Were TV viewers hooked right away, too? Or did the pacing of commercials and weekly breaks mean AMC viewers didn’t get addicted until much later in season 1?
In any case, it sounds like Netflix knows more about us than we realized.