Netflix Data Reveals Which Episode of a TV Series Gets Viewers Hooked on the Show

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A New Netflix Study Reveals When Viewers Get “Hooked” On Their TV Shows.

A new study by Netflix analyzed 25 popular shows — both Netflix original series and other network shows — and determined that the average episode users got hooked on was episode four. “In our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said in statement. “This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.” The Data was pulled from accounts all across the world that started watching a specific series between January 2015 and July 2015.

The pilot episode used to be the litmus test for TV shows – screw it up and you can forget a full series commission, attract limp ratings and you won’t be getting a second season.For viewers, the benefits of having the entire season of a TV show dumped onto a streaming service like Netflix for binge consumption are obvious: Who doesn’t want to sink back into their sofa and watch episode after episode of their favorite show, emerging hours later—bleary-eyed, borderline catatonic—when work or family calls? Netflix analyzed global streaming data for the first seasons of several popular shows looking for signs of when people latched onto a specific title and began bingeing.

It wasn’t a good thing for television, forcing creators to cram in as much action and event and information as possible into the first hour of a show in the hope that it would hook people in, often at the cost of their original, true conception of how the narrative should unfold. Acclaimed cable hits “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” and Toronto-filmed legal drama “Suits” had Canadians hooked by the second episode. Canadians were on board by the third episode of Netflix political drama “House of Cards,” while newcomers “Bloodline,” “Grace and Frankie” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” had fans reeled in by their fourth episodes.

Netflix, the data-saturated company that monitors your every click, pause, and rewind, has done a study to determine at what point people become “hooked” on shows. Breaking Bad for instance, had a pretty damn compelling pilot, but it was when the dissolved corpse of a former drug dealer rained down from Jesse’s ceiling that viewers stayed locked in to find out how Walt and Jesse would clean their mess up. In other words, when, exactly, do people decide that they’re going to stick it out for the long haul for Orange Is the New Black or How I Met Your Mother? But it might take 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes to really get enough information for you to decide if you want to invest with these characters and with this world.” “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman has decades of network experience under her belt.

Sarandos said the ability to binge-watch programming has likely had an impact on conventional networks, which are now giving shows more time to build followings. “Because of that full season order, you can invest in a show and actually make a better show than trying to do a pilot. According to the company, “70% of viewers who watched the hooked episode went on to complete season one.” Netflix could not identify what plot points sucked people in, only which episode. The notion that it may take several episodes for a show to gain traction is anathema at networks, where the clock starts to tick as soon as a pilot airs, and pressure is on to cancel any series that isn’t immediately performing. Indeed, Netflix found that it wasn’t until episode six that Mad Men—the iconic show that put AMC on the original programming map—took off with viewers. Breaking Bad: Episode two, when Walter and Jesse blow away Krazy 8, and Jesse’s ceiling collapses after they try to get rid of the body in an acid bath.

Mad Men: Episode six, when Peggy emerges as a copywriting star, and Joan makes an impression with a red dress and her ability to work a two-way mirror. Pretty Little Liars: Episode four, when Hannah realizes she isn’t her daddy’s only little girl anymore; Spencer receives some academic karma; and Emily conceals her feelings for Maya.

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