Netflix Studies Its Users and They Know When You Got Hooked

“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.”

This is a quote from the newest study by Netflix which can be read in its entirety here:

This idea that we need a few episodes to get into a show makes a lot of sense, and as we begin a new TV season, it makes me think of how most shows will lose live viewers after that first episode (Unless you are Empire, then you just keep bringing them in).

Sometimes shows lose a small number of viewers and stay at that level, kind of like how The Flash would stay at around 4 million viewers an episode after premiering to 5 million, but sometimes a show loses a huge number, like how Marvels Agents of Shield in it’s first season had a premier of 17 million then a second episode drop to 13 million. Some shows make it up in streaming numbers, but some shows just keep losing viewers. Agents of Shield would continue to lose viewers into the second season ending with only 7 million watching live.

This study has me thinking about the first episodes of all the TV shows I’ve watched and whether I was hooked after the first, or if it took a few to get into these shows.

There have been a lot of shows that I’m excited for, for one reason or another, and these are different than coming into a show with no previous anticipation, because I’m already, on some level, on board.

The shows that I come into knowing nothing about are the ones that I usually give a few episodes to determine if I like them enough to continue. For instance, The Flash was a show I wanted to see, so I knew I would probably watch it the full season, but those first few got me into it enough that I made it weekly viewing.

When I think of shows that I knew nothing about until I first saw them they tend to be British. Miranda, Vicious, Dr. Who.

I was 20 or 21 before I saw Dr. Who and really had no idea about it before then. One of those cultural things that I just never came across on my own or in my social circle.

I will say that, Miranda, and Vicious had me at their first episodes. I knew nothing of Miranda when I found it on Hulu, but the description was enough to make me want to check it out, and it looked like fun.

Are there shows that had you in from that first episode? Which shows took you a while to get into? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you Monday!

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